Source: Himalayan News Service
RCT defeated the Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club 3-1 to give a perfect gift to coach Madhu Karki in his 36th birthday while Machhindra came with an identical result against strugglers Sankata Kathmandu Mall Club.
However, today’s results made no impact in the standings as Machhindra accumulated 15 points to end the first leg as seventh one better than eighth placed RCT. APF (10) remain 10th while Sankata (six) are second from the bottom.
RCT coach Madhu Karki said he had no other option than to satisfy with what he got. “We had a good start in the beginning but lost momentum in the middle. It’s okay that by boys gave me the desired result on my birthday,” said Karki.
Uttam Gurung scored a brace and Deepak Rai added the other while Ganesh Lawati struck for APF. RCT got a perfect start when Uttam’s powerful shot kissed the nets in the 50th second. APF’s defensive lapse gave Uttam the second fastest goal in the current league. In an eventful first half, Ganesh replied for APF in the 14th minute heading in a Prakash Karki’s cross.
Three minutes later, Uttam helped RCT regain the lead scoring from a tight angle from the left flank in his solo effort. APF goalie Sabin Regmi spectacularly punched away a Deepak Rai freekick in the 36th minute but made a blunder to gift RCT their third goal.
In the 73rd minute Sabin advanced forward in presence of two APF defenders but completely missed the ball letting Deepak to slot home in an empty net.
In the other match, poor visibility affected the second half but couldn’t stop Machhindra from scoring two goals in two minutes. Machhindra rallied with goals from from Brazilian national Daniel Sores Neves, Bishnu KC and Pukar Ale. Santosh Shrestha took advantage of a poor defensive marking to give Sankata the 10th minute lead.
Machhindra were awarded a penalty in the 34th minute after Sankata goalkeeper brought down Eze Collins in the danger zone. Daniel converted the spot kick to level the scores. Machhindra failed to score twice in empty nets as they went forward for the winner. First, Karna Limbu’s powerful shot in the 42nd minute was defended by Sudeep Sikhrakar before Daniel applied a weak shot that went wide three minutes later.
Karna was unlucky in the 47th minute as his powerful shot from inside the penalty area rebounded off the woodwork . But, Machhindra constant pressure paid off in the 76th minute when midfielder Bishnu headed home a sublime cross from Naresh Pokharel and a minute later Pukar scored on his solo effort to ensure Machhindra earn three points.