The RayZrs come from two-goal down to beat Biratnagar 5-4, secure NSL playoffs berth


Kathmandu RayZrs overcame a two-goal deficit to beat Biratnagar City Football 5-4 in a thrilling encounter and secured the berth in the Khukri Nepal Super League playoffs here at the Dasharath Stadium today.

Messouke E Oloumou scored a hat-trick, while Stephen Binong and Tshiring Gurung netted one each for Kathmandu.

Pedro Javier Manzi Cruz scored a brace for Kathmandu, whereas Adelaja Okuwawunni and Ranjit Dhimal netted one each for Biratnagar.

Kathmandu accumulated 10 points from five matches and also earned the playoffs berth, while Biratnagar are still in the race for two available spots with seven points.

Dhangadhi FC, who also have 10 points and are at the top on superior goal difference, have already made it to the playoffs.

Biratnagar took an early lead when Okuwawunni headed home on a cross from Ranjit Dhimal in the sixth minute, while they doubled the tally in the 33rd minute after Manzi collected a pass from Santosh Tamang, beat the offside trap and slotted home past advancing Kathmandu goalkeeper Bikesh Kuthu.

Against the run of the play, Kathmandu netted three goals in the space of six minutes to go into the break with a 3-2 lead. Oloumou reduced the deficit in the 35th minute as found the back of the nets despite Biratnagar goalkeeper Kishor Giri getting his hands to the ball.

Oloumou levelled the scores a minute later following a pass from Binong, who converted the free kick into a sensational goal to put Kathmandu ahead in the 41st minute.

Oloumou scored the first hat-trick of the tournament in the 68th minute to make it 4-2 when he beat as many as two defenders inside the box before burying the ball into the goal with a powerful strike, while Biratnagar reduced the deficit through Ranjit Dhimal's goal in the 79th minute.

Tshiring Dhimal restored Kathmandu's two-goal cushion following a pass from Oloumou in the 82nd minute, while Biratnagar striker Cruz struck in the fourth minute of the injury time and the goal could only narrow the defeat margin.

Oloumou was named the man of the match and he earned Rs 25,000, while his Kathmandu teammate Biswash Shrestha bagged the emerging player's award along with Rs 10,000.

Earlier, Lalitpur City FC registered their first victory of the tournament to keep their playoffs hopes alive. Nurlan Novruzov Zahid scored the solitary goal of the match as Lalitpur edged past Butwal Lumbini FC 1-0. Lalitpur, who fired head coach Pradeep Humagain after the team played goalless draw against Pokhara Thunders on Sunday for third stalemate in four matches, moved up to fourth position with six points. Butwal Lumbini dropped to fifth with five points.

Zahid struck in the fifth minute of the match and that was enough for Lalitpur to walk away with first win. Zahid scored from close range following Anjan Bista's header pass after Neeraj Basnet tried his luck with a overhead kick on a corner from Kamal Shrestha.

Lalitpur duo Bista and Mikchen Tamang were named the man of the match and emerging player and they received Rs 25,000 and Rs 10,000 respectively.

On Friday, Pokhara Thunders will play against Chitwan FC in the contest between the bottom two sides. Pokhara have five points, while Chitwan have two from four matches.

A version of this article appears in the print on May 7, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.