NRT, RCT share points; NPC win

KATHMANDU: New Road Team (NRT) and Ranipokhari Corner Team (RCT) played a thrilling 2-2 draw while defending champions Nepal Police Club (NPC) laboured to a 1-0 win over Sankata Kathmandu Mall Club in the Martyrs Memorial San Miguel A Division Football League here at the Dasharath Stadium today.

Dipak Rai and Yogesh Gurung scored for RCT while Subhash Rai and Sayan Mosavi struck for NRT. RCT led until the 88th minute before a frentic three minutes saw NRT struck twice and RCT one goal. After a lackluster first half, Dipak had provided RCT the lead in the 64th minute. His left-footed powerful strike passed underneath the diving NRT goalkeeper Tulshi Baju.

NRT pressed forward for the equaliser and they almost got one in the 87th minute. Sunil Sardar almost conceded an own goal while trying to clear a cross from NRT’s Mosavi. But a minute later, NRT found the equaliser thanks to a mistimed shot from NRT’s Umesh Upreti that rolled in for teammate Subhash Rai, who slotted home for the equaliser. To RCT’s disbelief, NRT took the lead in the 89th minute. Mosavi drove home from close range in a goalmouth melee. The match wasn’t over yet as Yogesh had still time to level the scores for RCT in the 90th minute. Yogesh scored a stunner from the edge of the box leaving NRT goalkeeper Baju hardly any time to react.

“Had we played the way we did in the second half, we would have easily won the match,” said NRT coach Diken Suwal. “Our goalkeeper was weak today as we were forced to field him after our No 1 (Surendra Shrestha) and No 2 (Binod Dangol) custodians have yet to recover from their injuries,” said Suwal adding that he was still satisfied to share a point. “We were certainly losing the match but the late goals nearly gave us three points,” added the coach. Suwal’s counterpart Madhu Karki rued that they let the match slip away in the dying moments. “I am still happy with the draw because the match was such that we were heading for a certain victory at one point and the very next moment we were staring at defeat,” said Karki.

With the day’s results, NRT lead the standing with 10 points from four matches, one point ahead of Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club who have played a game less. NPC are third with eight points from four games while Sankata are ninth with three points from four matches.

Earlier, Chetan Ghimire scored the solitary goal to hand the departmental team their second win in the league. Ghimire flicked in the goal following a freekick from Parbat Pandey. NPC would have doubled their tally had not Sankata goalie Deepak Dangol made a brilliant save in the 79th. Dangol dived full stretch to his right to deny Ju Manu Rai the goal.

NPC coach Birat Krishna Shrestha said that his players have yet to give their best performance. “Almost all the key players are playing with injuries but still I expect them to play better due to their experiece,” added Shrestha. Sankata coach Chet Narayan Shrestha blamed his midfield for the defeat.