In the tense first match of the day, relegation battlers Sankata Kathmandu Mall Club held Ranipokhari Corner Team (RCT) to a 1-1 draw to boost their dream of avoiding relegation.
With the results, both NRT and Three Star remained unchanged in second and third place respectively. Playing equal 20 matches, NRT have 40 points in their kitty and Three Star are a point behind them. Nepal Police Club with a match advantage over both of them occupy the top spot with 43 points.
Sankata retained their 10th position, just above the relegation zone, with 16 points in the 12-team contest and RCT are in ninth place with 22 points.
French midfielder for Three Star Joclyn Morgan gave a lead in the second half and Santosh Sahukhala added another. Substitute Subash Gurung pulled one back for NRT.
In the competitive match, Morgan scored in the 61st minute from the box in a pass set by Anil Ojha utilizing Castory D Mumbara´s corner. Sahukhala doubled the advantage six minutes later from the left flank of the box again in a pass of Ojha.
Gurung, the 56th minute replacement for Rajesh Shahi, netted in the 79th minute with an attempt to bounce back in the match but NRT were short of a goal, as they could not score in the remaining time.
Earlier, Three Star squandered three chances of scoring in the first half but NRT could not make a single post attack. Surendra Tamang´s and Sahukhala´s close range shots were prevented by NRT goalie Surendra Shrestha. In another half too, Tamang failed to convert a one-on-one with the goalie.
NRT came up with a better show during the later stage of the second half and made a few attractive moves but goalie Kiran Chemjong denied them on several occasions. NRT were unlucky on two occasions as the ball hit the bar.
During the dying moments, Shayan Mosavi´s strike rebounded hitting the inner edge of the bar, and earlier Gurung´s 30-yard shot too went wide rolling on the bar.
Three Star Coach Bal Gopal Maharjan said the win gave them a faint hope of returning to the race for the title. “We got chances from the beginning and our boys played well,” Maharjan said.
NRT coach Diken Suwal said his team´s chance of winning the title became dim after the defeat. “The players were unfit as we did not prepare during the break,” said Suwal.
Earlier in the first match, RCT took a 28th minute lead through Yogesh Gurung. Gurung brilliantly beat the goalie from the box utilizing a pass from Uttam Gurung.
Sankata got the equalizer in the 69th minute through a header of Santosh Shrestha. Shrestha headed home in a corner of Rajendra Rawal to score his sixth league goal.
Sankata manager Chandra Man Tuladhar said he was satisfied with his side´s performance. “However, we are not safe from the relegation fear,” Tuladhar added.
RCT coach Madhu Karki said his side conceded the equalizer due to a silly mistake of the goalie. Karki also expressed relegation fear of his team.