Tribhuvan Army FC and Nepal Police share spoils in departmental derby


Defending champions Machhindra Football Club made winning start in the Qatar Airways Martyrs Memorial A Division League, while Tribhuvan Army Football Club and Nepal Police Club settled for a draw here at the Dasharath Stadium today.

Sunil Bal scored a brace as Machhindra defeated New Road Team 2-1. Bal opened the scoring in the 12th minute when he found the back of the nets following a pass from Bishal Rai. Arik Bista levelled the scores for NRT in the 54th minute with a sensational goal after he converted a free kick from 30 yards out.

Machhindra netted the winning goal lead 10 minutes before the end when Bal scored his second goal of the match, this time collecting a pass from his skipper Sujal Shrestha.

Bal was denied the hattrick after referee ruled his goal as offside in the 62nd minute. Machhindra created a chance in the 14th minute but NRT goalkeeper Ajit Prajapati stopped Bishal Rai from scoring in one-on-one situation.

NRT's Krittish Ratna Chhunju shot wide from six-yard box in the 26th minute, while Nabin Shrestha was denied by Machhindra goalkeeper Bishal Shrestha in the 42nd minute.

Shiva Gurung failed to connect on a free kick from Arik Bista in the 52nd minute as NRT missed a chance to level the scores. Machhindra's Abhishek Rijal headed wide in an open post following a cross from Ranjit Dhimal in the 65th minute, while NRT's Darshan Gurung missed an opportunity four minutes later. Manish Dangi came close to scoring in the 74th minute but NRT goalkeeper Ajit Prajapati rescued his side but he was not able to avert the team's loss six minute later allowing Bal to net the winning goal.

Machhindra coach Prabesh Katuwal was happy to get full three points from the first match. "NRT are a good side as they have quality strikers from the NSL tournament. We made a couple of mistakes in the match but I am happy to walk away as a winner," he added. Asked about the star-studded squad, Katuwal said only those players who perform well in training would make place in the team.

NRT coach Raju Kaji Shakya was satisfied with the overall performance of his side. "It's always difficult to play in the first match. We played well but went on to concede goals because of minor lapses," said Shakya.

In another match, TAFC and NPC settled for a 1-1 stalemate.

After a goalless first half, Santosh Hemram put NPC ahead in the 51st minute when he headed home on a pass from Tej Tamang. TAFC levelled the scores 10 minute later through a goal from Bibek Basnet, who was fed by Santosh Tamang.

TAFC missed two early chances in the space of four minutes after George Prince Karki and skipper Bharat Khawas failed to find the back of the nets. NPC's Suman Lama shot over the bar in the 18th minute, while TAC's Sesehang Angdembe saw his long-range shot saved by NPC goalkeeper Satrughan Chaudhary in the 43rd minute. TAC substitute Tek Bahadur Budhathoki found the back of the nets in the 87th minute but his goal was ruled offside.

TAFC assistant coach Raju Tamang said his side in needed improvements in finishing as well as defense line. "We played well overall. The team created chances but the forwards failed to convert the opportunities, while we also made mistakes in defense. We cannot afford such errors as we are trying to play attacking football," he added.

NPC coach Ananta Thapa said the match was a tough one and that the team conceded the equaliser due to a silly mistake. "We could not preserve the lead and had to settle for a draw because of a mistake.

But we got a valuable one point from the first match of the league," he added.

A version of this article appears in the print on November 23, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.