Source: Himalayan News Service
KATHMANDU: New Road Team (NRT) stunned star studded Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) 1-0 to enter the semi-final of the San Miguel Knockout Football Tournament here at the Dasharath Stadium today.
The result meant former NRT player Raju Kaji Shakya made a winning start with the club as a coach. MMC have spent a hefty amount in signing star players but were dumped out thanks to a solitary goal from Subhash Gurung.
Shakya, the former Tribhuvan Army Club coach, was delighted with the performance of his less experienced boys. “My boys played more than we had expected, and coming with a win against such a strong team is really satisfying for us,” said Shakya. He was also determined of a better showing in the upcoming matches.
NRT will now play Tuesday’s semi-final against reigning league champions Nepal Police Club — a side that toiled hard to come up with a slim 1-0 win over promoted Bouddha Football Club on Friday.
Subhash cashed in on a blunder from MMC defender Deepak Bhushal who fed the ball to the striker inside the area instead of making a clearance in the third minute of the first half injury time. The striker then made no mistake taking control of the ball and firing inside the net.
Immediately after the break NRT switched to a defensive mode to protect their lead. MMC were close to scoring in the 18th minute when skipper Tashi Tshering was on one-on-one with NRT goalkeeper Binaya Shrestha but the goalie brilliantly punched his powerful shot away to safety.
Anjan KC scored from a freekick in the 51st minute for MMC only for assistant referee Ashok Bajracharya to rule it as an offside. MMC upped their game in the second half but were denied on numerous occasions.
MMC failed to capitalise on one-man advantage over their opponents who were reduced to 10-men after the 74th minute when defender Prabin Shainju — a former MMC player — left the pitch injuring his right ankle when his team had already made three substitutions.
NRT shot stopper Shrestha was in his best form when he superbly blocked a Santosh Sahukhala shot from inside the area in final minutes of the game. Sulav Maskey got the rebound but hit above the bar. Anjan could not give a perfect touch to finish on a sublime cross from Sahukhala in the dying moments of second half.
MMC coach Bal Gopal Maharjan blamed poor showing of his star players in the first half for their loss. “We would have advanced
to the semi-finals had the players performed the way they did in the latter half,” said the coach.
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