Unfortunate day for Swayambhu and United Youth Club

KATHMANDU, July 12: Swayambhu Club and United Youth Club were relegated from the Martyrs Memorial Red Bull A Division League on Tuesday while Nepal Army Club became the last team to secure a berth in the National League.

Top flight debutant Swayambhu, established in 2052 BS, became the victim as Mahindra Bansbari FC suffered an unexpected 3-0 defeat at the hands G Five Machhindra Club at the Dasharath Stadium.

The victory for Machhindra meant that 16th place Swayambhu, with eight points and a match in hand, would not be able to climb out of the relegation zone. Machhindra remained unchanged in the 14th place with 13 points.

Swayambhu was promoted to A division in 2065 BS as the winner of second division football tournament organized by the All Nepal Football Association.

The bottom four in the 18-team contest will be relegated to B division. Koilapani Polestar of Nawalparasi has already been relegated. Brigade Boys Club, which is in 15th place with two matches in hand, is still a threat to Machhindra, who had earlier defeated Koilapani and United.

In the early kick-off at the Dasharath Stadium, Samsung Jawalakhel Youth Club defeated minnow United Youth Club 3-0 shattered the latter´s hopes of avoiding relegation.

United, established in 2027 BS, was promoted to A division for the first time in 2053 BS but was relegated after enjoying two seasons in top flight football. United was again promoted to A division in 2065 BS after finishing runner-up in the B division football organized by Nepal Football Association.

"I don´t care what the spectators say," said Bansbari coach Hari Om Shrestha when asked about the match-fixing rumor heard in the stadium after his side´s surprise defeat at the hands of relegation-threatened Machhindra.

Bansbari had a dream run in the league following a comeback in top flight football in the current season and had produced some stunning results. It had defeated title contender Three Star 1-0 and RCT 2-0.

Bansbari´s performance had given the spectators enough reason to raise suspicion. The ball was played in Bansbari´s half for the most part of first half. Bansbari players frequently made unnecessary back passes. There was no celebration at relegation threatened Machhindra´s bench at the time of scoring and when the match ended. Not a single player got injured, and it was a rare match in which the referee did not show a single card.

"We are safe from relegation and our aim was to play safely without getting injured," Bansbari coach Shrestha said, claiming that the match was not fixed. "If there was fixing then we are ready to face punishment," Shrestha added.

Pukar Ale scored twice in the 16th and 83rd minutes and substitute Shyam Mahato headed home in the 41st minute to seal victory for Machhindra.

Machhindra coach Narottam Shakya said that his side still faces relegation threat. "Our aim was to win the match and there is no question of fixing."

Earlier, in a one-sided match, Jawalakhel intensified the attacks from the very beginning and scored twice inside the first 25 minutes. Karna Subba, Gerard Mukonza and substitute Raj Paudel were on target for Jawalakhel.

Subba, who took his goals tally to 10 in the league, opened the scoring in the 18th minute beating goalie Ajay Maharjan in a one-on-one position after controlling a pass from skipper Laxmi Nath Shtestha.

Kenyan recruit Mukonza doubled the tally in the 25th minute through a header after he met goalie Maharjan´s rebounder off Karna Subba´s shot. Paudel, a 52nd minute replacement for Gerard, made it 3-0 when he headed home Sachindra Dhimal´s cross from the box.

United Youth pulled one back in the 76th minute when Thomsan Bhusal´s scored through a header after Rabi Silwal´s freekick rebounded off the bar.

Jawalakhel could have scored three more goals but two strikes from scorer Limbu and one from Mukonza hit the woodwork.

"My predictions turned out to be true," said a delighted Jawalakhel coach Kishor KC. "Though the club had aimed for a place in the super eight round, I have targeted to finish in the top three and we are close to it," KC said.

The result strengthened Jawalakhel´s grip on third spot with 35 points, four ahead of fourth place Three Star that has a match advantage over Jawalakhel.

Army thumps Koilapani

Nepal Army Club thumped relegated Koilapani Polestar 6-0 to complete the line-up for the National League. The top eight teams of the league will be eligible to contest in the 10-team National League. Army, with only a match left, has 28 points while Koilapani is at the bottom of the table with one point.

In the course of Army´s convincing victory Bikarna Shrestha scored in the 31st and 77th minutes after Santosh Nepali had opened the scoring in the 11th minute. Chhabilal Adhikari of Koilapani scored an own goal in the 44th minute while Chun Bahadur Thapa scored in the first half stoppage time through penalty. The other goal came from Hari Mahato in the 63rd minute.

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