Big spender Manang hard put to win

Source: The Kathmandu Post

Picture courtesy: The Kathmandu Post

Naresh K.C. scored deep into extra time to give Laxmi Hundai Manang Marshyangdi Club a hard fought 2-1 win over spirited Rani Pokhari Corner Team (RCT) in the San Miguel Knockout Football Championship at the Dashrath Stadium on Tuesday.

Substitute K.C., who came off the bench on 117 minutes, scored the winner from close range one minute from time to put his team into the second round where they will meet New Road Team on Saturday. Big spending Manang, who have added all the big names of Nepali football in their rooster this season, fell behind to an early goal from Shekhar Limbi (15th minute) but an unchallenged header from Tashi Tsering on 40 minutes put the game into extra time. Manang's new boss Bal Gopal Maharjan was not satisfied with his team’s performance but said the hard fought win would make the team stronger by the day. His counterpart, RCT coach Madhu Karki said: "My team deserved the win but since my side was inexperienced they could not hold on to the lead."

Despite being the underdogs in today's match, RCT appeared better with their quick exchanges and accurate long-rangers. Had it not been for goalkeeper Bishal Shrestha's stellar performance, RCT could have easily got the better of the Thamel based team that had put a below par performance all throughout the match. Shekhar Limbu put RCT in front on 15 minutes when he raced clear off the Manang defence to meet Bhim Darlami pass that had easily beat keeper Bishal and needed a simple tap-in.

Tashi Tesring levelled the score on 40 minutes heading an unchallenged pass from new signing Santosh Sahukhala. After the goal, the match looked

headed for a penalty shoot-out withboth the teams failing to break the deadlock even until the wee hours of extra time but K.C. entered replacing Nirajan Khadka three minutes from time and scored the winner from a ball that had come from Sahukhala after a tackle.

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