Last-gasp Mosavi header seals MMC victory

KATHMANDU, June 9: A last-gasp goal from Danish recruit Shayan Mosavi gave Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) a hard-fought 1-0 win over Mahindra Bansbari Football Club in a controversy-marred match during the Martyrs Memorial Red Bull A Division Football League at the Dasharath Stadium on Thursday.

Mosavi hit the decider one minute before the end of seven minutes of stoppage time, though the match was conducted for three minutes more than the actual injury time shown by the fourth official.
Mosavi headed home out of a scuffle from the six-yard box in a throw of Sandip Rai to stun Bansbari goalie Lucky Karki. Mosavi had scored the lone goal in MMC´s 1-0 win over Army also.

The win sent MMC to second position with 22 points, one point behind leader Nepal Police Club, after the completion of the ninth round. Earlier, Friends Club had to settle for a 1-1 draw against top flight debutant Saraswoti Club as it failed to hold on to its lead with only five minutes remaining. The result left Friends unchanged in the 11th place with 11 points, while relegation zone dweller Saraswoti also remained unchanged in the 15th place with five points. 

Similarly, former Nepal Army Club player Babukaji Dhaubanjar made a winning debut as the coach of his former team as Army beat Brigade Boys Club (BBC) 2-0 at the Halchowk ground with a brace from Hari Mahato in the second half. Army leapfrogged three places to occupy the ninth position in the standings with 12 points, pushing behind Bansbari one step on the basis of goals superiority. Both Army and Bansbari have equal points. 

During the post-match conference, Bansbari coach Hari Om Shrestha blamed referee Sachin Amatya´s ´wrong´ judgment for his team´s defeat. “The throw by Rai, which turned out to be a decisive move, was taken about ten yards away from the actual spot,” said Shrestha who has also frequently criticized referees´ decisions during his side´s previous matches. 

Korean Lee Tae-Ho, who was in the players´ box for the first time as MMC coach, also vented his ire on the referee. He pointed out ´a series of mistakes´ made by the referee. Among others, he was very furious about the match being conducted for three more minutes than the actual injury time shown by the fourth official. He was also involved in a heated argument with the fourth official and referee inspector after the completion of the match. 

He also blamed referees of conspiring against MMC to stop them from winning the league. “The referee conducted the match for three more minutes as compensation to Bansbari as he later realized that we were about to be the victim of his wrong decision”, said Bansbari coach Shrestha. 

Earlier, in a competitive match, a star-studded MMC lacked coordination and also made many mis-passes. MMC failed to register even a single attempt on goal until the last 20 minutes of the match. In the 74th minute, Santosh Sahukhala failed to beat the goalie from the box after receiving a pass from Mosavi. Similarly, Kabbu Rai´s strike from the box for Bansbari went inches away from the post. 

In the early kick-off, Saraswoti´s Tanzanian player Yona Elias Naveed hit back the equalizer in the 85th minute in an open net when he met a ball cleared by an advancing goalie Sagar Gurung outside the box.  Earlier, Friends had taken an easy lead through Japanese recruit Taku Yoshika in the 16th minute when his feeble shot rolled on to the back of the net after Saraswoti custodian Bikesh Kuthu, slipped on the goalline while trying to save the shot. At Halchowk ground, Hari Mahato put Army ahead two minutes after the break against BBC and sealed victory for his team in the 73rd minute with his second goal.

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