RCT rally for a draw with 10-man Friends

Kathmandu, February 6:

Tribhuvan Army Club rallied for a 1-1 draw against defending champions Carlsberg Manang Marsyangdi Club (MMC) while Ranipokhari Corner Team (RCT) struggled against the 10-man NIB Friends Club to a 1-1 draw in the Martyrs Memorial San Miguel ‘A’ Division League Football here at the Dasharath Stadium today.

The Armymen lead the standing with 54 points, two more than MPC — who can top the table with a win against Machhindra Energizer Club on Thursday. Nabil Three Star are third with 47, two more than MMC and four ahead of Armed Police Force Team. Friends are sixth with 33 and RCT 10th with 22 points.

The Army club were lucky to share the point after MMC squandered as many as five easy scoring chances. Furthermore, MMC goalkeeper Sangeet Rajak’s blunder resulted into an equaliser.

Salau Nurudeen headed home on a cross from Anil Gurung to put MMC ahead in the 23rd minute but Biswo Bairag Samal levelled the tally in the 83rd minute after Rajak failed to gather the ball on Raju Tamang’s long shot and dropped just in front of unmarked Samal, who easily tapped the ball from goalline.

MMC coach Chhiring Lobsang Gurung blamed goalkeeper Rajak for the result. “Apart from him (Rajak), Anil Gurung was the other culprit,” said the coach. Anil squandered two chances in a solitary encounter with Army goalkeeper cum skipper Bikash Malla.

Army coach Babukaji Dhaubanjar said that they were under pressure after missing few chances early on. “We played well but such thing happens against tough opponent,” said Dhaubanjar adding that the result would affect in their race for the championship.

In the other match, Friends controlled the game from the begining and created two chances within the first 30 minutes. Friends skipper Robin Byanjankar was denied by RCT goalkeeper Dilip Chhetry in the 28th minute and Sishir Adhikari wasted a certain goal in one-on-one with RCT goalie Chhetry a mintue later.

Friends was reduced to 10 men when Raj Kumar KC was expelled in the 32nd minute for using abusive language to referee Lava Khatri when the referee cautioned him with a yellow for throwing the ball away after the whistle.

However, Ramesh Byanjankar put the Friends ahead with a 25-yard freekick in the 45th minute but Rishi Rai levelled the scores in the 62nd minute.

Friends coach Ashok KC was happy that his team held RCT despite being reduced to 10 men. “RCT played well, especially goalkeeper Dilip Chhetry,” said KC, blaming his defenders’ poor marking in conceding the equaliser.

Today’s matches

• TSC vs Sankata @ 12:30pm

• APF vs NRT @ 2:30pm