Players of NRT (green) and Shree Kumari Club in action during a Martyrs Memorial B Division League football tournament match at the ANFA Complex, Satdobato on Tuesday. ( Photo Courtesy : ANFA )
KATHMANDU, Sept 27: As the battle for promotion to the top tier intensified in the Martyrs Memorial B Division League football tournament, the contest between two top teams New Road Team (NRT) and Shree Kumari Club at the artificial turf of ANFA, Satdobato turned into a battlefield.
Officials of Shree Kumari Club attacked match officials including referee and assistant referees promptly after the final whistle was blown and the match ended in favor of NRT, which won by a narrow margin of 1-0.
Nearly a dozen of Shree Kumari officials entered the pitch and manhandled FIFA referee Sudish Pandey and assistant referees Padam Bhujel and Yunall Malla. However, the players of Shree Kumari intervened and helped in bringing the situation to normalcy.
ANFA, the organizer of the event, has not made any security arrangements for the league and only a handful of ANFA officials were insufficient to bring the situation under control. The ANFA officials did not even dare not to enter the pitch to stop the manhandling of the referees.
Shree Kumari, which was trailing the match 1-0, started the second half brightly with good passes and moves. Shree Kumari finally broke the NRT defense and scored a goal. But, unfortunately, that goal was ruled out as offside by the referee.
Shree Kumari’s another move was foiled by the NRT defence line when goalkeeper Sandesh Kurung, who came out of the box in an attempt to stop a player of Shree Kumari fell down. One of the NRT defenders cleared the ball and denied Shree Kumari from scoring.
Shree Kumari’s President Nakul Hamal Thakuri accused the referee of not giving fair decisions in both the incidents. “That goal wasn’t offside. The referee was wrong to rule out that goal. NRT’s goalkeeper had committed foul when he came out of the box and tried to prevent our player from scoring,” said Thakuri.
“Referee played a one sided game giving many unfair decisions which cost us important three points,” claimed Thakuri, adding, “We have made big investment for this league and such unfair decisions from the referee will cost us dearly.”
Thakuri also accepted the mistake made by his club officials. “My club officials attacked the referee due to anger and frustration but that situation was prompted by the bad decisions made by the referee. However, we are ready to accept ANFA’s decision over this incident,” said Thakuri.
He also informed that his club will register appeal over the referee’s decisions.
NRT’s assistant coach Shyam Mali expressed his happiness over the result. “Today my players gave 100% and played a perfect team game for three points,” said Mali.
“Until the last match, we weren’t sure about our promotion but now this win has boosted up our confidence and we think we are near to returning to A Division,” added Mali.
Shree Kumari’s head coach Raj Kumar KC said that his players couldn’t cope pressure piled by NRT players. “The match was 50-50 but my players couldn’t resist pressure and concede an easy goal,” said KC.
“We still have mathematical chances of getting promotion. The next two matches will be decisive for us,” added KC.
In other matches of the day held at Halchowk stadium, Tushal Youth Club and Chyasal Youth Club became victorious.
In the first match played at Halchowk, Tushal defeated Samajik Youth Club 4-0. Bhakta Bahadur Thapa Magar scored a brace for the winning team as he opened the scoring in the 4th minute and confirmed the win by scoring in the 84th minute. Dinesh Henjan and Sujit Gurung scored in the 32nd and 84th minutes respectively.
After a win, Tushal is now at seventh position with 13 points from 11 matches while looser Samajik is 13th with just eight points after playing equal 11 matches.
In another match, Chyasal went top of the league after beating Khumaltar Youth Club 3-0. Chyasal took the lead in the match after Rajendra Deula turned the ball into his own net in the 4th minute. Binod KC doubled the lead in the 25th minute for Chyasal. Dipendra Ghising ensured the win for Chyasal by scoring in the 73rd minute.
Chyasal Youth Club and NRT are level on points at top of the table. However Chyasal leads the table with better goal difference. Both clubs have 22 points after playing 11 matches and now have just two more games to play in the league.