Manang Marshyangdi Club defeated Jawalakhel Youth Club 1-0, while Brigade Boys Club beat Nepal APF Club 3-2 in the Qatar Airways Martyrs Memorial A Division League here at the Dasharath Stadium today.

Dinesh Rajbanshi scored the solitary goal as MMC made the winning start in the league. After an entertaining first half that ended in a goalless draw, Rajbanshi headed home in the 57th minute following a corner kick from Dayananda Singh to help the team walk away with full three points from their first match.

MMC had put the ball into the nets in the 31st minute but referee Prajjol Chhetri ruled Oluwawunmi Adelaja Somide's header on a free kick from Pujan Uperkoti as offside in the 31st minute.

Jawalakhel were unlucky in the 45th minute when Onguna Nkengue Junior headed against the woodwork following a corner from Suraj Jeu Thakuri. Jawalakhel goalkeeper Tikendra Singh Thapa denied Afeez Olawale Oladipo to rescue his side in the first half injury time.

MMC skipper Anjan Bista should have opened the scoring in the 54th minute but his header went wide at a time when Jawalakhel goalkeeper Thapa had come forward to block a cross from Saroj Yonjan.

Jawalakhel came close to levelling the scores four minute after MMC took the lead but goalkeeper Bishal Sunar denied Sunil Khadka with a fine save. Jawalakhel had another chance to score the equaliser in the 77th minute but Pema Sherpa failed to meet a cross from Rup Bahadur Lama. At the other end, MMC's Afeez Olawale Oladipo failed to score in an unguarded post in 89th minute.

Jawalakhel coach Kishor KC lauded the performance of both the teams. "Both the clubs played beautiful football today and both the sides created a number of opportunities," said KC. "But we failed to convert the chances and conceded one in the second half. We had better opportunities than MMC but we could not succeed in our plan," he added.

MMC coach Rajendra Tamang said the team had come to the stadium for three points and that he had no pressure for the match. "I had not made any strategy for the match as we have good players and they all are experienced ones," said Tamang, who praised Jawalakhel for a good show. "We could not create many opportunities as expected but we did have some beautiful chances in the match," he added.

Earlier, Dinesh Rai scored a brace as BBC stunned departmental side APF in their first round encounter. BBC took lead in the 12th minute when Rai converted a free kick into a sensational goal putting the ball into the top corner. APF levelled the scores in the 17th minute after Ashish Lama found the back of the nets following a pass from Awas Lamichhane.

Rai restored BBC's lead in the 65th minute with his second goal of the match before Bikky Tamang headed home to score the equaliser for APF in the 77th minute. At a time when the match was heading towards a 2-2 draw, Suraj Gurung produced the moment of brilliance after the buried the ball into the nets following a pass from Bhuwan Basnet in the injury time.

APF coach Kumar Thapa said the team failed to perform as per the planning. "We played well in the first half but the team conceded unnecessary goal after the break," said Thapa. "We had played a 1-1 draw with BBC in our last encounter and credit to the opponents that they put in better performance today," he added.

BBC coach Sanoj Shrestha described the match as a tough one. "We had aimed at winning the first match and we are happy to get full three points," he said. "The match was a tough one and we conceded those two goals due to lapses in man marking,"

A version of this article appears in the print on November 22, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.