MMC leapfrog NRT, Machhindra hold Three Star

KATHMANDU: Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) continued their winning run with a 4-1 drubbing of Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club 4-1 to leapfrog New Road Team (NRT) for the top spot in the Martyrs Memorial San Miguel A Division League here at the Dasharath Stadium today.

Nabil Three Star Club, meanwhile, suffered another blow losing two points in their 1-1 draw against Machhindra Football Club. Three Star had lost to NRT, who have nine points, in their previous match. MMC also have nine points from three matches but they are ahead with a better scoring rate.

Amar Pun and Korean striker Oh Suchg Hanw scored a brace each for MMC while Ganesh Lawati scored a consolation goal for APF. Amar headed home a long cross from Prabin Sainju in the 36th minute. His second goal came in the 51st minute, once again with a close range header, on Shiva Shrestha's supply.

Hanw, in his debut match, cashed in on a weak defence to score for his club. Lee Ji Hoon, another Korean, supplied the ball in a 70th minute counter attack and Hanw ran all the way from the midfield to beat APF goalie Chandan Sardar. The custodian then made a blunder in the 80th minute unnecessarily holding a back pass which prompted Hanw to steal the ball and score.

After squandering several scoring chances, Ganesh finally pulled back one for APF utilising a cross from Arbindra Chaudhary. APF coach Maheshwor Mulmi said his side lacked strikers and even hinted of replacing the goalkeeper. APF captain Kumar Thapa said that the newcomers had no football sense.

Earlier, Machhindra were a better side but couldn't hold on to their 39th minute lead provided by Amir Shrestha. Amir stunned Three Star heading home Naresh Pokharel's 25-yard cross. Three Star, however, equalised in the 82nd minute through Santosh Sahukhala after coordination lapse of Machhindra defenders. The defenders and goalkeeper left Sahukhala to head home believing the forward was offside.

Three Star were outplayed by brilliant team coordination of Machhindra who were frequently taking the ball to their area. Bishnu KC passed the ball to Karna Limbu inside the area in the 57th minute but his shot rebounded off the bar. In the 73rd minute Rupesh KC's powerful shot also found the bar.

Three Star were equally making threatening moves and attacks but couldn't get the finish. French striker Jocelyn Morgan Pierce missed a sitter in an unattended post. In the dying moments of first half Machhindra goalie Bishal Magar punched a powerful close range shot from Bijaya Gurung while his header in an empty net was denied by defender Bishal Rai in the 60th. Pradeep Maharjan's shot in the 79th minute rebounded off the bar.

Machhindra coach Dhruba KC, who managed the 2005 league winning Three Star team, said his team played better than he expected. "It was a tough game for us but our boys played really well. I am happy to earn a point from Three Star," said KC. KC also pointed out the problems in Three Star's midfield and forward line. His counterpart Bal Gopal Maharjan nodded on KC's opinion.