RCT defeat MMC; Army climb up table


KATHMANDU, April 9: Ranipokhari Corner Team (RCT) registered their first victory in the second leg of the ongoing Martyrs Memorial San Miguel ´A´ Division League Football Tournament defeating Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) 2-1 at the Dasharath Stadium on Friday. RCT climbed one spot to seventh in the points table while MMC slipped one spot below to sixth after the completion of 12 matches played by all the teams.

In another match, a lone goal from Army Club´s defender Hiranya Magar against G´Five Machhindra Club helped the Army climb two spots to fourth while Machhindra descended to the eighth place from seventh.

RCT took the lead in the 33rd minute through Yogesh Gurung´s header. Gurung scored the opening goal from the box in a rebound from a corner kick. RCT had earlier attempted about half a dozen good strikes but couldn´t finish.

Uttam Gurung´s solo effort in the 23rd minute was saved by MMC goalkeeper Bishal Shrestha. Gurung dribbled the ball past MMC defenders and shot from outside the box but Shrestha dived to deny him. Likewise, Deepak Rai´s powerful shot in the 4th minute was blocked by MMC defenders.

While RCT kept MMC under pressure in the first half, the only good chance MMC had was in the 38th minute when Korean striker Kim Sen Do got the ball in the box but shot it wide. Earlier, Korean duo Do and Oh Suchq Hwan created a chance but the shot went above the bar.

While MMC seemed virtually wiped out at the end of the first half, Ganesh Khadka volleyed a powerful shot from the left flank of the box leaving RCT custodian Dilip Chhetri stunned. Khadka scored the equalizer in the first minute of the stoppage time in a header pass of Do.

MMC appeared in a better form in the second half but Deepak Rai´s goal in the 72nd minute shattered their hopes. Rai´s winning strike found the top right corner from about 22 yards.

MMC coach Chhiring Lopsang said the team couldn´t win because of poor finishing. He also said that the junior players of his team lacked strength to play longer in the league.

Meanwhile RCT coach Madhu Karki expressed satisfaction over his team´s performance. “It was not just luck, we played well today.”

Likewise, Nepal Army Club began the match with offensive strikes from the very beginning but had to wait for a late second half goal for victory. Raju Tamang´s shot for the Army within 45 seconds of the opening hit the top right bar and skied off.

Machhindra were not able to coordinate at all for the first 30 minutes during which the Army made several attempts. Amrit Basnet´s shot in the 5th minute was saved by Machhindra custodian Raju Nagarkoti. Nagarkoti also denied Chun Bahadur Thapa a goal as he blocked Thapa´s shot from about 30 yards.

Machhindra made some progress in coordination after striker Eric Collins of Mozambique was replaced by Karna Limbu in the 26th minute. Naresh Pokharel´s powerful volley from the right side of the box was punched by Army goalkeeper Bikash Malla in the 33rd minute.

Ten minutes later, Limbu´s shot which went wide could had been converted by Brazilian Daniel Soares Neves had Limbu set a pass.

Machhindra had another good chance in the second half when Pukar Ale´s tight angle shot was again punched by Malla in the 82nd minute. Finally, Magar scored for the Army in the 89th minute beating the keeper.

Meanwhile, Machhindra coach Meghraj KC said the team lost due to selfishness of the players. He also said that they were out of training for seven days. “We got dominated for the first 30 minutes as the players lacked coordination, but after that both the teams had 50-50 chances. Army cashed in on the opportunity but we couldn´t,” he said.

Army coach Raju Shakya said that his team has a good keeper and good defense but lacked strikers at present. “The victory is a good sign,” he said.

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