Earlier in the first match of the day, leaders New Road Team received a major blow in the title race as they were held to a goalless draw by relegation threatened Sankata Kathmandu Mall Club. However, NRT still occupy the top spot with 28 points.
Though Nepal Police club are in second place with 26 points, they have a match advantage over the former. In the first leg NRT had defeated Sankata 2-1.
Jawalakhel, who suffered the highest goal-margin defeat in the ongoing league, were reduced to nine players in the 44th minute after Hem Gurung and skipper Raj Kumar KC were given marching orders by referee Sudish Pandey. Gurung had intentionally played a foul on Joclyn Morgan, the French midfielder of Three Star. Referee Pandey showed the second red card of the match in the same minute to skipper KC after he argued with the former regarding the red card shown to his teammate.
Tension ran high following the incident and the match was interrupted for about 10 minutes. Angry officials and reserve players of Jawalakhel attempted to manhandle the referee expressing their dissatisfaction toward his decision.
In the first leg Three Star had defeated Jawalakhel 2-1.
Jawalakhel assistant coach Rajaram Karki said double red cards became the greatest loss for the team. He also questioned the referee´s ability to conduct the league. “How can a referee who gets angry at the slightest provocation make the players feel comfortable?” Karki questioned. He suggested the organizer to bring in qualified referees.
Following the results, Three Star retained third spot with 25 points to narrow their gap with NRT and police. Jawalakhel remained unchanged in ninth position with 14 points.
Jawalakhel, trailing by one goal until the first half, conceded other goals in the second half. Jawalakhel´s restriction to nine men turned advantageous to Three Star striker and leading scorer Santosh Sahukhala as he added three goals in the second half to add four goals in his personal kitty in the match to take his tally to 15 goals. Sahukhala scored in the 29th, 57th, 89th and in the first minute of the stoppage time.
Sahukhala also become the first player to complete two hat-tricks in the league. Earlier, he had scored four goals against Friends Club in the first leg. Shayan Mosavi of NRT and Yogesh Shrestha of Jawalakhel are the other players to score hat-tricks. Sankata remained constant in 11th place following the results with seven points.
Tanzanian midfielder Castory Mumbara and Morgan added one each in the 68th and 73rd minute respectively. Mumbara scored through a superb free-kick from the left flank and Morgan netted through a powerful grass shot from the box.
Three Star coach Bal Gopal Maharjan also agreed that the referee gave controversial decisions from the very first match of the league. He pointed out the absence of senior and experienced referees.
Maharjan lauded his side´s performance. “Every player played best from his position,” he said.
Earlier, in a drab affair, NRT piled up consistent pressure against Sankata but their endeavor to find the back of the net could not materialize. NRT, who came up with two Brazilian players, failed to show their magic. However, NRT made more than half a dozen attacks while Sankata rarely made post attacks.
NRT coach Diken Suwal once again came down heavily upon the referee and questioned the referee´s quality. “The referee is qualified to conduct only U-14 games,” Suwal said. “They don´t know where to show cards and give advantage,” he said.
Commenting on the Brazilian duo´s performance, he said they were not set in the team and were facing problems due to eating habits. Expressing dissatisfaction toward the results, he said that his side failed to utilize scoring opportunities.
Sankata coach Chet Narayan Shrestha said that second leg matches of the league were “do or die” for them to stay in the first division. “The team played well and we should at least win 4-5 games to remain in the first division,” he said.
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