HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Striker Bishal Rai ‘A’ scored a brace as Machhindra Club advanced to the quarter-finals of the British Gurkha Cup with a deserved 2-1 win over Ranipokhari Corner Team (RCT) here at the Dasharath Stadium today.
The result meant a triumphant comeback for coach Diken Suwal, who was instrumental in sending Machhindra to the top-tier in 2006 before quitting the post a season later. The coach, however, is yet to commit his future to the club. “I am yet to sign a contract. I will confirm my stay only after evaluating the performance in this tournament,” said the former New Road Team coach.
Machhindra, who have signed eight first-choice players from Samsung Jawalakhel Youth Club, will now take on the winners of the match between Yeti Himalayan Sherpa Club and Samsung Jawalakhel Youth Club in quarter-finals.
Bishal ‘A’ provided an early third minute lead firing home from inside the box on a rebound that came off RCT goalkeeper Prem Kumar Tamang after he had blocked Deepak Rai header in a Laxmi Narayan Shrestha corner. Prem made about half-a-dozen saves to keep RCT in the match.
The RCT goalie made a diving save to stop a close range shot from Bishal Rai ‘B’ close in the 20th minute before preventing Bishal ‘A’ seven minutes later. RCT celebrated an equaliser through skipper Kamal Karki in the dying moments of the first half only for the assistant referee Ashok Bajracharya to rule it as offside.
RCT shot-stopper Prem was at his best when he blocked a strike from Bishal ‘B’ in one-on-one encounter at the stroke of the half time. Veteran striker Yugal Kishor Rai levelled the scores in the only notable attack from RCT. Fed by Amar Dangol, Yugal made no mistake sending the ball inside the nets.
Man-of-the-match Bishal ‘A’ then scored the decider from the area utilising a defensive blunder from Dipesh Thapa Magar. Dipesh failed to clear a Deepak Rai’s right wing cross allowing Bishal to score. RCT assistant coach Madhu Karki said they were lucky to lose with a small scoreline. “They (Machhindra) were better than us in all aspects. We were fortunate not to concede more goals,” said Karki.