Army, Police play 0-0 draw, Mahabir relegated

Kathmandu, February 14:

Mahendra Police Club (MPC) and Tribhuvan Army Club (TAC) played a 0-0 draw in a crucial match between the title contenders in the Martyrs’ Memorial San Miguel League at Dasharath Stadium today.

New Road Team (NRT) thrashed Mahabir Club 5-1 while Machhindra Club defeated neighbouring Sankata Club 2-0. With the win, Machhindra secured itself in the upper Division while pushing Mahabir into the relegation.

The Army club launched offensive early but MPC goalkeeper Ritesh Thapa kept them at bay. Ritesh saved TAC skipper Janamat Karki’s header in the sixth minute before making two other saves in a corner kick.

Chakra Tamang wasted a golden opportunity in the 39th minute as he failed to connect on a perfect cross from Shiva Chaudhary. In the only real opportunity created by MPC in the first half, TAC goalie Ram Kumar Chaudhary saved Ramesh Budhathoki’s powerful attempt.

TAC goalie Chaudhary also denied Budhathoki in the 54th minute. MPC ruined a brilliant scoring chance a minute later when Ananta Thapa failed to beat Chaudhary in one-on-one situation and shot straight to his hands. Chaudhary also made another good save denying Suman Subedi in the 62nd.

With championship on stake, MPC brought back star players Budathoki and Ananta Thapa despite not being fully fit. The result has now kept them away from the title race, giving Three Star Club a five-point lead.

In another match, Buddha Chemjong put Machhindra ahead in the 19th minute and Deepek Rai doubled the lead through a header in the 44th.

At APF Stadium, Sunil Subedi struck a hat-trick and Kiran Kapali and Jeevan Sinkeman added one each for NRT. Uche Onyegbule scored for Mahabir.

The match also witnessed goalkeepers of both the team playing as strikers. NRT goalie Surendra Shrestha gave the gloves to Sujit Shrestha in the 71st minute, while Mahabir goalkeeper Min Basnet played as striker for five minutes.

After the loss, Mahabir joined Bouddha FC as a relegated team. Even the win over NRT would have not helped them following Machhindra’s (26 pts) win. Mahabir earned 22 points — six wins, four draws and 18 losses. Jawalakhel Youth Club (27) and NRT (44) are the other two clubs who have played all the 28 matches.