Foreign recruit Oloumou scores a brace as New Road Team beat Friends Club
KATHMANDU, DECEMBER 31
Nepal APF Club salvaged a 1-1 draw with departmental rivals Tribhuvan Army Football Club, while New Road Team registered a 3-1 victory over Friends Club in the Qatar Airways Martyrs Memorial A Division League here at the Dasharath Stadium today.
George Prince Karki put TAFC ahead before Bikey Tamang replied for APF in the departmental clash. The fifth stalemate in seven matches all but ended TAFC's title hopes, while relegation-threatened APF earned an important point from the match in their bid to stay in top flight.
TAFC remained at fourth with 11 points, while APF accumulated six points from seven matches to stay at 11th position. NRT are one point behind TAFC at fifth after their second win, while Friends remained winless and are at the bottom of the 14-team table with three points.
After a goalless first half which was largely dominated by APF, the Armymen took the lead in the 63rd minute through Karki's second goal of the league. Fed by Dinesh Henjan outside the box, Karki managed to create a room for him for an attempt at goal despite being surrounded by four defenders. APF goalkeeper Yuya Kuriyama, who had made a timely dive towards the right direction, was deceived after the ball deflected to defender Rajan Gurung near the six-yard box line.
The TAFC joy, however, did not last long as APF levelled the scores four minutes later when Bikey Tamang found the back of the nets in rebound after TAFC goalkeeper Bikesh Kuthu failed to collect the ball despite making a diving saved to deny APF skipper Nabin Lama. Kuthu, who had made a couple of brilliant saves in the match, was quick enough to stop Lama's shot but he lost control over the ball and Tamang was just there to make a simple tap-in from close.
APF coach Kumar Thapa was not happy with the result and rued missed opportunities.
"We should have easily won the match as we came close to scoring on so many occasions in first half," he said.
"We have been scoring goals but we have not been able to take lead to put the opponents under pressure. The complexion of the match would have changed had we scored in the first half," added the former national team midfielder. "We have lost many points by playing draws and that has been hurting the team."
Army coach Nabin Neupane was fed up with the below-par performance of his team. "The players have not been able to live up to the expectations and their delivery on the pitch is very poor," he said. "I have tried so many combinations by rotating the players but we have not been able to get the desired results," he said. Asked about the title race, Neupane said the team's primary target was to fight for the trophy. "But the way we are performing, it seems that we are playing for top four finish," he added.
In another match, Stephane Samir Dieubeni Binong put NRT ahead in the fifth minute with a fine shot from outside the box following a free kick from Andre Thiery Biyik Biyik after Friends defender Ronell Anthony Paul miscued the ball while trying to clear it. Messouke Etiegnie Oloumou doubled the tally in the 20th minute when he guided the ball alone from the centre of the pitch after being fed by Nabin Limbu.
Jamoul A Francois cut the deficit with a goal in the 81st minute when he headed home following a cross from Sakal Regmi. Oloumou restored NRT's two-goal lead in the first minute of the injury time with his second goal of the match on a pass from Krittish Ratna Chhunju. Friends scored a goal in the sixth minute of the injury time through Nathaniel Jude Garcia but that was too late for the team to stage a comeback.
A version of this article appears in the print on January 1, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.