-  Tuesday 19 January 2021

MMC, TSC take title fight into decider

KATHMANDU, Feb 20 - Defending champion Nabil Three Star Club and Manang Marsyangdi Club (MMC) ensured that their tie on Tuesday would decide the winner of the Martyr's Memorial ANFA-SanMiguel National League football with favourable results on Sunday at the Dashrath Stadium.
Two first-half goals from Nigerian Nurudeen Olawale gave MMC a 2-0 win against Mahendra Police Club (MPC) while Three Star played a 1-1 draw with hard-fighting Tribhuvan Army Club (TAC). With a match remaining, MMC leads the table with 65 while Three Star is two points behind.

Going into the final match, Three Star needs a win - and would have needed it even if it had defeated TAC today because MMC has better goal difference - while MMC can walk away with the title even with a draw. TAC finished third with 61 points while MPC finished fourth at 60.

Cristian Chediaberi put Three Star ahead in the 24th minute with a powerful ground shot after receiving a long-ranger from Pradeep Maharjan.

The Lalitpur outfit dominated the first half and was on top from the outset. Surendra Tamang nearly scored in the second minute but his shot found the sidebar.

After the break, TAC came back stronger and Three Star had to fight hard for domination. Army leveled the score in the 69th minute with a stunner from Biswo Bairag Samal. Samal received a ball in the penalty area from Chun Bahadur Thapa and headed it into the nets on the farther side leaving goalkeeper Upendra Man Singh helplessly watching.

After scoring a goal, TAC created a few moves while Three Star struggled. However, the armymen couldn't add to the score leaving Three Star as happier as it would have been with a win.

Earlier, MMC outplayed injury-hit MPC. Nurudeen scored the first in the 17th minute after Felix's corner baffled three MPC players who didn't even attempt to clear the ball. Nurudeen easily netted it. He was once again on target in the 40th minute when Stanley Cyprian provided him a good feed.

Nabin Neupane missed a spot-kick in the 80th minute after Rajendra Shrestha handled the ball in the penalty box.

It would have been a perfect match for MMC hadn't its influential player Felix received a yellow card. The card meant that he would miss the crucial final game. "It was a conspiracy against us," MMC coach Chhiring Lopsang commented.


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