Anjan Bista scored the solitary goal as Signature Manang Marshyangdi Club defeated Grandmaster Jawalakhel Youth Club 1-0 to extend their winning streak to six games in the Pulsar Martyrs Memorial A Division League here at the ANFA Complex grounds today.
After a goalless first half, Bista scored the only goal of the match from the spot in the 62nd minute. MMC earned the spot kick after JYC defender Adama Dumbia brought down Afeez Olawale inside the six-yard box and Bista converted the resulting penalty to score his fifth goal of the league.
With their sixth straight victory, MMC maintained their three-point lead over Ruslan Three Star Club, who came from a goal down to beat Saraswoti Youth Club 2-1 in the day’s another match. Defending champions Three Star, whose only defeat came at the hands of MMC, climbed to second position with 15 points.
In another match, Valley Chyasal Youth Club needed an own goal from Himalayan Sherpa Club’s Niraj Basnet to register a 2-1 win, their second in the league. Chyasal moved up to seventh position with seven points, ahead of Nepal APF Club on superior goal difference. Saraswoti are ninth with six points, while JYC have four.
Leaders MMC created a couple of opportunities in the first half but JYC goalkeeper Tikendra Thapa stood firm to frustrate his opponents with strings of brilliant saves. Thapa denied MMC skipper Bishal Rai in the seventh minute and he managed to save Bista’s shot in rebound. Moments later, Thapa stopped Adleja Somide’s attempt. Thapa was at his best today as he made a finger tip save to deny Rai’s free kick from 30 yards to keep his side in the match.
JYC and Thapa were unlucky after the break as MMC earned a spot kick and Bista opened the scoring. After that, Olawale missed a free header on Kamal Shrestha’s cross in the 82nd minute, while Bista ended up with a wide shot. JYC came close to levelling the scores in the third minute of the injury time but MMC goalkeeper Bishal Shrestha punched back Sushil Yadav’s header and Aruj Singh shot off target in rebound.
MMC custodial Shrestha injured his eye while saving the ball and he was replaced by Ashok Baral, who got a lucky deflection in the eighth minute of the injury time after Lawal Olakan’s shot hit the post and went out.
In another match, Saraswoti took the lead in the fourth minute after Victor Amobi scored from the spot. Saraswoti earned the penalty after Peter Segun handled the ball inside the area.
Ranjit Dhimal scored the equaliser in the 17th minute, also from the spot after Anil Gurung’s attempt hit the hands of a Saraswoti defender. Nirajan Khadka put the defending champions ahead in the 36th minute with a diving header on Ranjan Bista’s low cross from right wing.
Likewise, Chyasal also came from a goal down to beat Sherpa. Against the run of play, Tridev Gurung put Sherpa ahead in the 15th minute. Karna Limbu beat the offside trap but he hit the post and Gurung scored in rebound.
Santosh Sahukhala scored the equaliser in the 56th minute when he brilliantly shot past two defenders and goalkeeper Kishor Giri from the penalty area. Chyasal then took the lead in the
73rd minute, thanks to an own goal from Niraj Basnet. Chyasal’s substitute player Sunil Khadka made an attempt but the ball entered the goal after taking a deflection to Basnet.