MMC, Machhindra ‘fight’ after stalemate

Kathmandu, January 6

Defending champions Manang Marshyangdi Club and Machhindra Football Club played a 2-2 draw in the Qatar Airways Martyrs Memorial A Division League before players and officials from both sides turned the Dasharath Stadium into a battlefield.

The scuffle was instigated by MMC’s Jagajeet Shrestha when he abused Machhindra’s Deepak Rai following the final whistle before the officials and other players entered the pitch creating an ugly atmosphere.

At a time when the ANFA officials and security personnel were trying to settle down the issue, MMC’s Ashok Baral punched Machhindra’s Devendra Tamang and kicked foreign player Peter Segun from behind.

The ANFA had to send police into the pitch to control the situation. Despite the involvement of so many players and officials from both the teams, referee Shrawan Kumar Tamang showed just one red card to MMC’s substitute player Ashok Baral.

Machhindra Club coach Prabesh Katuwal criticised the players for their behaviour.

“What happened in the ground today was not good.

The incident occurred because of the players’ wrong behaviour.

I am concerned about the discipline of the players rather than pointing out who started the fight or who did what,” said Katuwal. “We played for three points and I am sad that we got just one.

Winning the match against a big team like MMC was like getting six points but that did not happen. But we are still in title race,” added Katuwal.

MMC coach Dhaneshwor Prajapati said his club would not take responsibility of the incident. “I could not see the fight properly as people were standing in front of me,” said Prajapati. “But we are not going to take any responsibility for what happened today,” he added. Prajapati did not answer journalists’ queries properly and said the team management sent him to face the post-match press conference as he was the coach ‘in paper’.

Earlier, Femi Joshua Adewumi put MMC ahead in the second minute when he headed home on a cross from Anjan Bista, who returned to the team after completing 45- day suspension. Bista was one of the four players stopped from travelling to Bhutan with national team for spending a night in pubs and clubs in Thamel.

Sujal Shrestha levelled the scores a minute into the second half after being fed by Adleja Somide following a long pass from skipper Biraj Maharjan.

Somide put Machhindra ahead in the 81st minute when he headed home over advancing goalkeeper Deep Karki.

MMC scored the equaliser two minutes before the end after substitute player Bimal Rana Magar scored in rebound.

Machhindra goalkeeper Bishal Shrestha punched back Anjan Bista’s header and Joshua set the ball for Rana Magar, who slotted home from close range.

In another match, Prabhu Jawalakhel Youth Club and New Road Team played a goalless draw.

After the day’s matches, MMC remained at the top of the standing with 11 points, while Machhindra are second with 10. JYC accumulated nine points and they are fourth behind Tribhuvan Army Club on inferior goal difference, while NRT are at the eighth position with five points.