KATHMANDU, Dec 26: In one of the biggest upsets in the Martyrs Memorial Red Bull League, relegation threatened Mahindra Bansbari FC stunned leader McDowell´s Ranipokhari Corner Team (RCT) 2-0 on Wednesday ending its unbeaten run in the ninth match at the Dasharath Stadium.
In another match, Yeti Airlines Himalayan Sherpa Club took a giant stride in the points table with a hard fought 1-0 win over bottom placed Bauddha FC.
With its third win and second in a row, Sherpa climbed four spots up to ninth from the relegation border. Bauddha with only one point hit the bottom of table.
Bansbari´s African recruit Momodou Lamin Faye struck in either half to hand RCT its first defeat of the league. The result, however, did not have an immediate impact on the points table as both the teams remained unchanged in their respective positions.
Heman Gurung from Himalayan Sherpa Club celebrates goal. (Photo: Bijay Rai)
Bansbari is in the 15th position, second from the bottom, with five points after its first win. RCT is still on top of the table with 19 points. However, RCT could lose its grip from top position if second, third and fourth placed Three Star, MMC and Machhindra win their respective matches. All three have a match advantage over leader.
Playing in absence of its regular striker Amar Dangol due to a match suspension, RCT came up with one of its worst ever performance and also wasted a penalty. "It is the worst performance of the team since my appointment as the coach of the team," said Madhu Karki, RCT boss and the former captain who had been looking after the team as coach for the last two years.
"There was not a single post attempt during the first half. The performance was below par," said Karki, adding, "The boys might have assumed that would easily beat the opponent. Dangol was badly missed today and the result will be very much beneficial to other teams ."
Bansbari´s Nigerian player Faye gave 29th minute lead through a powerful shot from the area at an unattended post after collecting the ball punched by custodian Dilip Chhetry. Chhetry was yet to recover after punching a header pass from defender Noor Raj Kafle who headed to clear a long freekick taken by Charles Rai of Bansbari.
Mahendra Bansbari Football Club vs RCT. (Photo: Bijay Rai)
Five minutes earlier, Faye had squandered a scoring chance as he provided an easy saving opportunity to custodian Chhetry with a feeble shot from the area. Faye doubled the advantage two minutes into the second after he headed in a cross of Dil Bahadur Tamang. Few second earlier, Chhetry had made a diving punch to deny Pukar Ale Magar´s powerful strike.
RCT´s Yugal Kishor Rai squandered a golden chance to cut the goal deficit as his penalty was saved by glovesman Ajeet Prajapati in the 55th minute. RCT was awarded with a penalty after Santosh Singh Thakuri handed the ball in area in his bid to defend Dipesh Thapa Magar cross.
The only other goal scoring opportunity for RCT came in the 78th minute, but its African player Oladipo Olawale Afeez was denied by custodian Prajapati in one-versus-one situation.
Bansbari´s newly appointed coach Dipesh Yonjan Lama who collected four points from three matches as in-charge of the team was delighted with the result. "I have changed the team´s previous strategy of 5-3-2 to 4-4-2 today and I was concerned with my own strategy rather than the opponent´s." Lama was also full of praise for his goalie Prajapati and tagged him as the best custodian of the league. "The custodian has given A class performance."
In the late day´s dull show, midfielder Heman Gurung who was marking his second appearance in the league scored the all important goal in the 70th minute for Sherpa. Gurung converted a 25-yard freekick to score the decisive goal leaving Bauddha goalie Ranjit Gurung motionless. It was his second goal from as many matches played.
Sherpa´s assistant coach Tenjing Sherpa said that the result has ended his side´s relegation fear. " Heman Gurung will now be included in starting line up in all upcoming matches as he has proved himself." Bauddha coach Kiran Shrestha reiterated that his side had come up with a sound performance but was unable to score.