Source: Himalayan News Service
Despite the draw the only unbeaten team in the current league NPC lead the standings with 42 points after the completion of 18 round. TAC also remain fifth with 33 points. With the win, Sankata (14) jumped one spot up to 11th, pushing Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club, who have 13 points, down to the bottom. Machhindra stay on sixth with 24 points.
NPC, eying victory to mark the historical moment, started the match with a high morale but were themselves to blame for the result after squandering a few good chances. NPC came closer to scoring early on when midfielder Parbat Pandey’s curling freekick sailed inches above the bar and TAC goalie Bikash Malla denied Pradip Baniya’s diving header in the 66th minute.
NPC themselves got a reprieve in the 79th minute when their defender Suman Subedi, in an attempt to clear the Chakra Tamang shot, headed towards his own net only for custodian Ritesh Thapa to make a spectacular save on the goalline. Coaches of both the teams were satisfied with the results. NPC coach Birat Krishna Shrestha said they were able to exert pressure but failed to create good opportunities. His TAC counterpart Raju Kaji Shakya praised the way his defenders performed today.
Earlier in the first match of the day, Sankata scored twice in the second half to seal a comfortable victory. Sankata took a 57th lead through penalty kick. Sankata were awarded a penalty when Bikram Limbu brought down skipper Nirajan Malla. Nirajan himself stepped forward and converted the spot kick.
Santosh Shrestha, who replaced Ram Krishna GC in the 72nd minute, doubled the tally just three minutes after entering the ground, chipping over the advancing Machhindra glovesman Bishal Magar. Machhindra failed to even create a single chance in the entire match.
Machhindra coach Meghraj KC blamed the prolonged league interval for their weak performance against Sankata.