Photo Courtesy: Friends Club/Facebook Friends Club’s Brazilian defender Saulo De Aquino (right) scores his side’s second goal during the Martyr’s Memorial A-Division League football match against Saraswati Youth Club at the ANFA Complex in Satdobato, Lalitpur on Sunday.
KATHMANDU, Jan 19: Two late goals in the space of five minutes saw New Road Team (NRT) snatched a 3-2 victory from the jaws of defeat against the departmental team Armed Police Force (APF) Club in the ongoing Qatar Airways Martyr’s Memorial A-Division League in Lalitpur on Sunday.
In the other game played later on the same day, two goals from Uttam Rai inflicted more problems on Saraswati Youth Club as Friends Club thrashed the bottom-placed club 4-1 to reach the ninth place in the league campaign.
NRT, with the win, is just two points adrift of the leader Machhindra Club and having won four games already, it is aiming to finish inside the top half of the table.
It was an entertaining clash at the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) Complex in the cold weather as both the teams made comebacks each, but NRT held on its nerves and added two goals in five minutes of the last 10 minutes of the match to inflict APF’s fourth loss of the season.
Recovering from its 2018-19 season collapse when it finished at the bottom of the table, it has certainly made massive improvement, losing just two games this season and scoring a total of 10 goals so far.
NRT took the lead into the 24th minute of the match through Andre Therry Biyik as he headed the ball from a close range to give credit to the team’s constant attack.
The winning team created a lot of opportunities in the early part of the first half, but APF defended well and saw off the counter threats from NRT.
Prakash Budathoki went really close to getting an early goal in the eighth minute of the match after a cross from Saroj Tamang, but his header went over the bar. Rajesh Pariyar hit a shot in the 13th minute, but the APF defense blocked it.
APF got its fair share of chances as well, be it comparatively less than NRT, as Rabi Thing shot from outside the box was caught by keeper Ajit Prajapati in the 10th minute.
NRT's Budathoki got another chance in the 16th minute, but his shot was saved by APF keeper Amrit Kumar Chaudhary. It got another chance in the 21st minute as Darsan Gurung’s shot from outside the box was saved by Chaudhary again.
The departmental team had a real chance to take the lead in the game two minutes later, but Nabin Lama’s pass to Buddhiman Rai was wasted. Rai’s shot from inside the box grazed over the top of the crossbar. NRT scored a minute after that through Andre Therry.
However, APF finally equalized in the 41st minute and showed some signs of coming back. Aashish Lama scored his first goal of the game converting a fine assist from Nabin Lama.
APF dominated the early part of the second half and it paid off with a second goal for the team. Aashish scored his fifth goal of the season and completed a brace in the 53rd minute as his free-kick into the bottom right corner was unstoppable for NRT keeper Prajapati.
The team created some chances after taking the lead as Thing passed the ball to Aashish, but he missed the target in the hour mark.
NRT started applying high press in the game and stopped the route from the flanks dominating the game.
Budathoki was superb in the game as he kept on creating chances from set pieces but the team could not score.
NRT finally equalized through an own goal from Birendra Prakash Yadav in the 80th minute. Nabin Gurung put a good cross inside the box, but Yadav headed the ball into his own net when he was vying for it with Jordan Ndemba.
The team totally made APF unsettled with quick passing play, and scored the third goal of the game to complete the turnaround. Darsan brilliantly scored for the team to ensure the victory.
With the win, NRT has the same number of points as fifth-placed Nepal Police Club and sixth-placed Three Star Club on 11. It is fourth on superior goal difference over the two teams. NRT has won four games, drawn once and lost twice. Likewise, APF is second from bottom with five points from seven games which includes a win, two draws and four losses.
Elsewhere, Friends added two more goals to its first half tally to demolish Saraswati 4-1 and cruise into the ninth place.
The first goal was the sign of how good Friends has been with passing the ball as Uttam converted a solid one-touch pass from Brazilian Wagner De Carmo in the fifth minute.
It was an all-Brazilian goal in the 24th minute as Saulo De Aguino got a touch to a free-kick taken by Felipe De Sauza to double Friends’ advantage. Carmo scored the third goal for the team in the 70th minute converting in a pass from Uttam.
Saraswati scored a consolation goal 10 minutes later as Kazeem Adegoke Busari converted for the team.
Uttam scored his brace four minutes from time as he nutmegged the keeper to put the game beyond all doubt.
With the win, ninth-placed Friends has eight points with two wins, two draws and two losses. Likewise, Saraswati stays bottom with just one point as it has lost six games and drawn one.