Manang Marshyangdi Club’s Anjan Bista (right) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal against Three Star Club during the Martyr’s Memorial A-Division League football match at the Dasharath Stadium in Tripureshwar, Kathmandu on Saturday. Photo Courtesy: ANFA
KATHMANDU, Jan 19: Manang Marshyangdi Club wasted a glorious chance to go two points clear of leader Machhindra Club as it was held to a 2-2 draw by Three Star Club in the ongoing Qatar Airways Martyr’s Memorial A-Division League in Kathmandu on Saturday.
In the game played at the Dasharath Stadium, despite a heavy rain which had affected the pitch, two goals from Anjan Bista had put Manang in a good situation of 2-1, but Three Star’s Lal Rammavra scored a crucial goal to draw the match and snatch a point from Manang.
Manang started the game on 12 points, one behind both Machhindra, who lost 2-0 to Himalayan Sherpa Club a day ago, and the departmental team Tribhuvan Army Club, who still has a game in hand.
Bista, who made a return in the fifth round after a 45-match suspension, was in a good form as he created a couple of chances and also bagged a brace to open his account in the league.
“It’s hard when there is no football in a footballer’s life. I missed a lot of football in that time. The main thing about it was that it taught me a lesson,” Bista said on his suspension, “I guess this will help in my career going forward.”
Both the teams were in attacking mode in the game with Manang prioritizing possession play, while Three Star hit its opponent on counter-attack.
The first 15 minutes of the game showed how quick Three Star was on the counter-attack, but Manang center backs were perfectly positioned to make clearances.
Manang pressurized Three Star early on in the game, but was poor in the final third as it missed a lot of chances.
Manang’s Nishan Limbu gave a pass to Bimal Rana near the edge of the box. Rana hit a shot in the fifth minute, and the rebound shot from Femi Joshua Adewumi landed directly into the hands of the keeper.
Three Star’s Sanjog Rai hit an overheaded shot from outside the box, but the ball went wide in the 17th minute.
Three Star took the lead three minutes later as Rammavra hit a stunning free-kick which banged the underside of the bar and went in.
Anjan Bista got a chance score from a free-kick for Manang, but his good shot from just outside the box was saved by Three Star keeper Guillaume Yves Priso Njanga from going into the top left corner in the 31st minute.
Three Star had another chance in the 40th minute to double its lead, but a shot from Shiva Subedi after getting a pass from Rammavra went wide.
Rana missed a great chance to equalize the score before half time as Bista dribbled the ball past two defenders at the edge of the box. His pass inside the box was blocked, and it fell to the path of Limbu, and his pass to Rana was hit high over the bar in the 42nd minute.
Bista was in fiery mood in the second period going after one attack to another. Bista, showcasing some good technique inside the box, dribbled past Three Star defenders and on his way to turn the ball around, was fouled by Subedi in the 49th minute and was awarded a penalty.
Bista placed the ball superbly into the center of the post to equalize for Manang.
Manang looked really threatening in the second half with constant attacks from the flanks. Limbu hit a shot from just outside the box in the 62nd minute, but the ball hit the side net.
Bista scored his second goal in the 69th minute as he brilliantly headed in a free-kick from Kamal Shrestha to give Manang the lead for the first time in the game.
Manang had another chance to double its lead in the 79th minute, but Shrestha’s cross was brilliantly caught by the Three Star keeper again.
Three Star equalized in the 83rd minute as Nishant Khadka's cross was headed by Ananta Tamang. Manang keeper Deep Karki stopped the ball from going in, but could not stop Rammavra from scoring into the empty net.
Impressed with how the game went on, Three Star head coach Megh Raj KC was delighted to see the standard of the Nepali football reach good heights.
“There are quality games in the league this season. All the games aren’t the same as we saw good football in the game,” KC added. “I felt the three points we lost against Friends Club hit us more, than the two we lost today. It was a tight game and they worked hard just like us.”
With the result, unbeaten Manang, who has won three and drawn four times, stays third with 13 points and is behind on goal difference with both Machhindra and Army. Likewise, Three Star has 11 points from seven games with three wins, two draws and two losses. In the other game played earlier on the day, the other departmental team Nepal Police Club beat Jawalakhel Youth Club 2-0 to reach Soujan Rai gave Police the lead in the 27th minute, while Suman Lama doubled the team’s advantage scoring a goal in the 48th minute.
With the result, Police is fifth with 11 points, but is behind Three Star on goal difference. Likewise, Jawalakhel is sixth with nine points from two wins, three draws and two losses.