KATHMANDU, May 21: Yeti Airlines Himalayan Sherpa Club defeated Mahindra Bansbari FC 2-0 on Saturday to climb up to second spot in the points table of the Martyrs Memorial Red Bull A Division League Football Tournament, while Brigade Boys Club (BBC) defeated Saraswoti Youth Club with an identical score for its first victory in the league.
Jagjeet Shrestha set up both the goals as Sherpa maintained its unbeaten run and moved up four places from sixth with 13 points.
Despite having equal points as that of Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC), Jawalakhel Youth Club and Ranipokhari Corner Team (RCT), Sherpa occupies the second spot on the basis of goals scored. Bansbari remains unchanged in the ninth position with six points.
After a dull first half, Himalayan Sherpa scored both the goals inside the first seven minutes of second half. Nabin Neupane scored from the box, tapping in an acute cross from Shrestha, to put Sherpa ahead three minutes after the interval.
The second goal came four minutes later through Ugandan Samuel Mobiru in a low corner of Shrestha. Mobiru made no mistake to double the lead as Bansbari goalie Lucky Karki, moving toward the ball, failed to collect it.
Earlier in the first half, Sherpa, considered one of the title contenders, failed to put up an impressive and well-coordinated show. It made two remarkable attempts but failed to find the target. Pukar Gahatraj´s header in the 24th minute sailed above the bar and a feeble strike by Mumbara from the box was easily taken by Bansbari goalie Karki in the 30th minute.
Bansbari, on the other hand, could make only one attempt on target during the entire match. Dennis Ouko Ochines´ powerful shot from outside the box was beautifully punched to safety by goalie Sagar Thapa.
Sherpa coach Upendraman Singh said that his side was under psychological pressure as the opponent had earlier defeated Three Star Club. “We came under more pressure as we failed to score during the first half. But we changed our strategy and it worked properly,” Singh said.
Singh´s counterpart Hari Om Shrestha said that his side conceded an early goal in the second half before the team could set properly. “We failed in our target of at least playing a draw,” said Shrestha, who also criticized the referee´s decision of favoring senior players. “The referee let Sherpa skipper Sagar Thapa (also national captain) off for playing foul twice. Referees should not make decisions looking at the players´ profile but as per the rules of the game.”
Laba Karki was the referee in the match.
Earlier, in a lackluster affair, BBC opened the scoring in the 56th minute through a free-kick taken by Sunil Bishwakarma when Saraswoti goalie Bikash Kuthu failed to clear an easy ball despite getting his hands on it. Substitute Prem Lama doubled the advantage in the 70th minute from the box in a cross of Yalambar Rai. Lama had entered the ground in the 35th minute as a replacement for Diwas Gurung.
Sunil Bishwakarma´s first-half header for BBC sailed inches above the bar while Devimani Gautam twice squandered scoring opportunities in the second half.
Saraswoti, which had fielded two Pakistani players from WAPDA, league champion of Pakistan, could make only one attempt on goal. Mahmood´s strike from the edge of the box went inches wide from the post in the 69th minute.
BBC coach Sanoj Shrestha said that to earn three points from a 50-50 match was a relief for the team. Saraswoti coach Pradip Nepal said that it was unfortunate to lose against a team of the same level. “We conceded the first goal due to the goalie´s mistake and came under pressure after that.”
Meanwhile, All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) has postponed the matches scheduled for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday for three days citing technical reasons. The matches will begin from Wednesday.