Armymen win as Sankata falter

Kathmandu, September 26:

Tribhuvan Army Club scored three goals in the last eight minutes in their 3-2 victory over Sankata Club and Ramesh Budhathoki scored a hat-trick as Mahendra Police Club outplayed Jawalakhel Youth Club 3-1 in the Martyrs’ Memorial San Miguel ‘A’ Division League Football Tournament here today.

With the win, the Armymen stayed on top with 24 points from eight matches, ahead of defending champions Nabil Three Star Club (21) and last year’s runner-up Mahendra Police Club (20). Manang Marsyangdi Club, who have played seven matches, are at the fourth spot with 19 points, ahead of Gyanendra APF Club (13). Sankata remained at the fifth spot with 11 points, while Jawalakhel hung on to sixth spot with 10 points.

On Monday, Sankata put the Armymen at bay with two goals in the first 11 minutes, both in counter attacks. They were impressive with their defence, but faltered in front of the Armymen’s pace for the last 10 minutes and were punished. Nilendra Dewan put Sankata ahead in the fifth minute with a powerful strike from the left flank which TAC goalkeeper Ful Bahadur Lama failed to gather properly and dropped inside the goal. Raj Kumar Ghising doubled the tally in the 11th minute, when the striker found the net on his skipper Kailash Dangol’s pass.

Sankata came under pressure after they opted defensive strategy in the second half. The Armymen continuously attacked the post but were denied by Sankata custodian Sangeet Rajak with a couple of stunning saves. TAC coach Babukaji Dhaubanjar tried their bench players and brought in Shiva Chand Chaudhary, Surendra Chaudhary and Chakra Tamang to replace Daimoj Dhimal, Biswo Bairag Samal and Raju Tamang.

The third substitute, Chakra Tamang, scored the first goal for the Armymen in the 81st minute on Shiva Chaudhary’s pass, which became the turning point of the match. Another substitute, Surendra Chaudhary, levelled the scores when he fired home from close range following Shiva Chaudhary’s pass in the 87th minute. Mahendra Khawas snatched the winner in the 89th minute when he guided the ball alone from the left flank and scored from narrow angle. Earlier, MPC registered their sixth win of the tournament, riding on Ramesh Budhathoki’s hat-trick. Budhathoki took his personal tally to 13 goals, equalling MMC’s Basanta Thapa, who was the sole leader before the match.

Budhathoki opened the scoring in the 22nd minute from the edge of the area, capitalising on Manoj Nepali’s defensive error. He doubled the tally three minutes later with a powerful strike from 25 yards, and completed his hat-trick in the 67th beating JYC captain Tilak Gurung and goalkeeper Mohammad Nijamuddin. Doran Serchan scored a consolation goal for Jawalakhel in the 74th minute, when he capitalised on defensive error and put the ball into the roof of the net.

Today’s matches

NRT vs Boys’ Union @ 1:30pm

MMC vs APF @ 3:30pm