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Manang dig deep to sink NRT

KATHMANDU, DEC 11 -

Title favourites Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club narrowed the gap on leaders Machhindra Football Club to two points after a laborious 1-0 victory over New Road Team (NRT) in the Red Bull Martyrs’ Memorial ‘A’ Division League while Iceberg Madhyapur Youth Association withstood an onslaught by Tribhuwan Army to dig out a point with a goalless stalemate at Dasarath Stadium on Monday.

Skipper Anil Gurung’s match winning second half goal ensured all three points for Krishna Thapa’s men, who were kept at bay by NRT for most parts of the match.

“The score-line reflects our performance perfectly,” said Thapa, who seemed meditative with his team’s failure to score goals.

“Goals are scarce. Our main striker Sergio Chico has not totally been accustomed with the team.”

After a barren first half, the second half was action- filled thanks to an attacking mindset employed by Manang.

Owing to the physical superiority of NRT defense, skipper Gurung was deployed in the mid field to create scoring chances for Chico in the front. But when their strategy fell flat, the intensity of attack was compounded in the latter half with Chico partnering with Gurung supported by Nirajan Malla.

When Chico’s header from close range was denied by goalie in the 53rd minute, it was sure that NRT were going to be a tough nut to crack.

Manang, however, managed to break the deadlock in the 65th minute. Sulav Maskey unleashed a long cross from the middle of the park which was met by Amir Shrestha, who dispatched a low cross from the right flank to an unguarded Gurung, who tapped in into an open NRT net.

Earlier, NRT went close to taking the lead themselves in the 57th minute but Rajiv Gurung’s volley from the centre of the box crashed against the left pole.

Earlier in the day, Madhyapur goalie, Bikesh Kuthu had a tough time, especially in the second half, as he was kept busy throughout by a ruthless Army side, who failed to find the back of the net despite a host of chances.

Army came close to taking the lead on at least a half a dozen occasions. First was Ram Kumar Bishwas, whose header was brilliantly saved by Kuthu in the 58th minute followed by Tanka Basnet’s glancing header two minutes later.  Kuthu then punched Jeetendra Karki’s free kick at the last moment. Navyug Shrestha’s 88th minute flick header off Raju Tamang’s free kick was prevented by Kuthu with a brave dive and Tamang’s added time free-kick whisked past the bar.

The match, however, did witness a goal in the 89th minute. Bharat Khawas thought he had scored the winner but he was ruled offiside. This all but summed up Army’s day.

Posted on: 2012-12-11 08:35