KATHMANDU, June 19: Yeti Airlines Himalayan Sherpa Club twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw against Bauddha FC on Sunday in the Martyrs Memorial Red Bull A Division League Football Tournament at the APF Ground, Halchowk.
In the match held amidst downpour, substitute Kigozi Ismail of Sherpa cancelled Khum Gurung´s first-half lead while skipper Sagar Thapa scored the equalizer in the 76th minute after Eugene Gray had put Bauddha ahead for the second time. Three of the four goals in the game were made possible through free-kicks.
The result lifted Bauddha one place into the super eight with 19 points from 12 matches, pushing Nepal Army Club down to ninth. Army, however, has played a game less. Sherpa also jumped one spot to sixth, replacing Ranipokhari Corner Team (RCT) with equal 20 points to seventh.
In the slippery ground, Bauddha took a 30th minute lead through Gurung when he directed the ball toward the net from near the goal-line after inexperienced custodian Amrit Chaudhary dropped a free-kick from Eugene Gray. Chaudhary had taken over the goalkeeping duties in the absence of regular custodian Rupak Shrestha, who was red carded in the previous match against New Road Team.
Sherpa was also without its in-form winger Jagjeet Shrestha, Tanzanian midfielder Castory D Mumbara, defender Saroj Dahal and forward Ugandan Oryek Allan. Dahal had received his second yellow card in the previous match, while Mumbara and Allan have returned to their countries.
In the competitive match, Ismail leveled the scoring in the 52nd minute from the box in a short pass from Dipak Rai after the latter received the ball from Som Bahadur Malla. But Gray again restored Bauddha´s lead when his powerful free-kick bounced once before entering the net. However, Thapa found the equalizer when his free-kick deflected off the wall of Bauddha players and into the net.
In the 68th minute, Sherpa missed a golden opportunity when Ismail hit wide from short distance with only the goalie to beat. Similarly, Rai´s powerful 69th minute shot was denied by goalie Binod Dangol.
"We had come to win but we failed to achieve that as we missed chances," Sherpa coach Upendraman Singh said, adding, "Now we have given up title hopes and are looking forward to strengthen our hold on the super eight." Singh also criticized the referee´s decision.
Singh´s counterpart Kiran Shresta said that his side was eyeing a place in the super eight. "We had targeted victory today but it was difficult to control the ball because of the rain."
Likewise, In another match held at the same venue, African player Thomas Scott scored twice as Friends Club fought back to register a 2-1 win over relegation-threatened G Five Machhindra Club. Friends moved to 10th from 11th position with 17 points, while Machhindra remained unchanged in the relegation zone with seven points.
Scott cancelled Machhindra´s 14th minute lead through a close-range shot out of a scuffle after receiving a pass from Tanka Syangden. He then headed home in a rebound off the crossbar to double the advantage in the 69th minute.
Earlier, Ezee Collins had scored his fourth league goal to put Machhindra ahead in the 14th minute. Collins hit a spectacular 35-yard shot to stun goalie Sagar Ghimire in the slippery ground with uneven bounce.