Pandey rescues holders Police

KATHMANDU: An injury time goal from Parbat Pandey rescued the defending champions Nepal Police Club (NPC) from yet another upset in their 1-1 draw against the Ranipokhari Corner Team (RCT) in the Martyrs Memorial San Miguel A Division League Football here today.

In another match, Sankata Kathmandu Mall Club defeated Samsung Jawalakhel Youth Club (JYC) 2-1 to register their first win in the league. Santosh Shrestha and Sujal Shrestha scored for Sankata while Sunil Raut replied for JYC.

RCT took the lead after 23 minutes when a strike from Uttam Gurung deflected off NPC defender Jitendra Singh Bista to kiss the nets. But, it was all NPC in the match with a better ball possession and numerous attacks. Still, the departmental team were made to wait until injury time to level the scores.

RCT goalie Dillip Chhetri was left to expose the post thanks to a poor defensive marking. The RCT custodian made a weak diving clearance on Rabin Shrestha’s shot, leaving the ball to unmarked Pandey. Pandey converted from the edge with Chhetri having hardly any time to pull himself up from ground.

NPC coach Birat Krishna Shrestha admitted his team has not been able to put a better show. “Our boys are not putting in full efforts as it happened during the last match against the JYC,” said Shrestha. NPC were trailing 2-0 against JYC before Chetan Ghimire’s late double salvaged a 2-2 draw.

NPC excelled their game in the second half after Bhola Silwal’s header sailed inches away and Ju Manu Rai’s free-kick goal was ruled out in the first 45 minutes. Roshan Karki’s powerful side volley from the area went wide in the 53rd minute and Chetan failed to meet a Ju Manu cross. RCT coach Madhu Karki said his team was unable to resist the pressure. “They (NPC) built pressure in the second half and we couldn’t resist that,” said Karki.

In the other match, Sankata earned their first three points when JYC failed to penetrate defender-turned-substitute-goalkeeper Salyan Khadgi who guarded the post for the last eight minutes. Khadgi replaced Md Nurul Karim after the regular keeper sustained a head injury during a clash with JYC defender Dipen Shrestha. Man-of-the-match Karim, who denied almost half-a-dozen JYC attacks, was taken to hospital.

Santosh Shrestha gave Sankata a fourth minute lead scoring close from the area. JYC were down and out when Sujal Shrestha headed home a superb supply from Bangladeshi midfielder Md Asif Hussain. JYC upped their game in the second half and were able to reduce the deficit in the 84th minute. Sunil struck a sensational goal from the edge of the box leaving Karim hardly any time to react.

The two lucky winners picked from the San Miguel Fan Zone, Suraj Gurung and Govinda Shrestha handed over the San Miguel Most Valuable Player trophies to RCT’s Raghu Prajapati and Sankata Club’s Md Nurul Karim respectively.