Friends end MMC’s winning run, Machhindra win

Lalitpur, December 30

Uttam Rai scored the equaliser in the second half as NIBL Friends Club held Manang Marshyangdi Club to a 1-1 draw in the Qatar Airways Martyrs Memorial A Division League here at the ANFA Complex grounds today.

The draw ended defending champions MMC’s three-match winning streak, while Friends were able to open their accounts following the stalemate.

MMC are at the top of the 14- team table with 10 points from four matches. MMC had taken the lead in the first half through Ranjan Bista’s goal in the 11th minute after the striker headed home from six-yard box following a corner kick from Jagajeet Shrestha. Uttam Rai levelled the scores in the 63rd minute with a diving header on a cross from Rumesh Bartaula.

Bishwo Adhikari came close to scoring for Friends in the 17th minute but MMC goalkeeper Deep Karki made a brilliant save to deny the equaliser, while the Friends had a penalty appeal turned down after Vidal Luis Chissano brought down Felipe de Sauza inside the D-box in the 34th minute. Friends almost levelled the scores in the first half injury time but Prezen Tamang saw his shot cleared by defender from the goalline.

Fei Joshua Aewumi came close to doubling MMC tally in the 49th minute but Friends goalkeeper Sojit Gurung saved his attempt, while Bimal Rana was also denied by the Friends custodian in the 70th minute.

And Pujan Uparkoti missed a chance to claim all three points for MMC in the injury time when he headed wide following a free kick from Koara Larba Florent Kone.

In another match, Machhindra Football Club defeated New Road Team 1-0 riding on a solitary goal from Somide Oluwawunmi Adelaja. At a time when the match was heading towards a draw, Machhindra’s Nigerian recruit Adelaja found the back of the nets in 90th minute when he headed home on a pass from substitute Bijay Dhimal, who had replaced skipper Biraj Maharjan in 64th minute.

Unbeaten Machhindra accumulated nine points from four matches, while NRT have four points after they faced their second defeat. Machhindra and NRT were penalised with one and two points respectively after the All Nepal Football Association conducted the first-ever non-relegation league.