HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) beat Saraswoti Youth Club 2-0 while Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club hammered Mahindra Bansbari Club 5-1 in the British Gurkha Cup here at the Dasharath Stadium today.
First half goals from Sulabh Maskey and Anil Gurung helped the new-look MMC to secure a quarter-final berth. MMC took an early fourth minute lead with Sulabh converting from eight yards following a Kalu Thapa’s defense splitting pass into the area.
MMC doubled their lead 10 minutes later and this time it was Sulabh to set up the goal for Anil. Sulabh headed the ball on to the path of Anil who made no mistake to beat the completely exposed Saraswoti custodian Ashok Baral.
Anil also missed out on scoring his second goal, heading just wide on a left wing cross from Sujal Shrestha in the 27th minute. Saraswoti had their best chance six minutes from interval when Sabir Chaudhary hit agonisingly wide off the target.
In a lacklustre second half, the only notable action came in the 58th minute when Saraswoti goalie Ashok made an acrobatic save to deny a powerful Shiva Shrestha shot from the edge of the area.
Saraswoti coach Pradeep Nepal rued few first half chances. “We could not capitalise on chances that came our way,” said Nepal. MMC coach Devendra Jung Shahi said his team is yet to be set properly. “We should have scored more goals but failed to convert around eight or nine good chances,” added Shahi who also indicated fielding two foreign nationals in their next match. MMC will next play on April 24 against the winners of the match between Friends Club and New Road Team.
Early in the first game, Santosh Shrestha, Arjun Subba, Ganesh Lawati, Ranjan Bista and Milan Rai scored for the departmental team. Pukar Ale Magar pulled back a consolation goal for Bansbari.
APF took an early eighth minute lead thanks to a sloppy piece of defending and a poor judgment of Bansbari goalkeeper Manish Timsina. As Milan Rai delivered a pass at the edge of the area the Bansbari goalie Manish needlessly charged forward to make unsuccessful interception and at the same time two Bansbari defenders somehow left the ball roll at the far end for Santosh to shoot in an unguarded post.
APF added the second in the 33rd minute, again due to a defensive blunder. Fed inside the area, Ganesh Lawoti rounded off goalkeeper Manish and shot in an empty post. However, a Bansbari defender made a timely run to stop a weak shot from crossing the goalline but in the process lost his balance leaving Arjun for an easy tap in.
After missing out on converting about four clear chances, Ganesh finally scored to make it 3-0 in the 70th minute, heading home a cross from Milan Rai. The 65th minute substitute Ranjan Bista made it 4-0 in the 80th minute, six minute before Pukar Ale Magar pulled one back for Bansbari. Milan Rai then completed the rout adding the fifth goal for the departmental side in the injury time.
APF coach Janak Singh said that his team is not completely set. “We tried to experiment by making our players switch their normal positions,” said Singh adding that it would be very tough for his side to win the quarter-final tie against Mega Three Star Club on April 21.