Thursday, May 23

Butwal End Birgunj’s Playoff Aspirations, Lalitpur Go Through

Sandesh Sigdel, Kathmandu

Butwal Lumbini FC’s late winner has denied Birgunj United FC their place in the playoffs of the second edition of the Nepal Super League. Substitute Chandan Das scored the winning goal for Butwal to end Birgunj’s run in the tournament.

Birgunj, who needed a win to put them through, fumbled their chances and went on to lose the match. Sanoj Shrestha’s men failed to convert their chances from the very start of the match. Butwal also troubled them at the back with ventures of their own.

Butwal winger Gillespye Jung Karki was the one heading their attacking plays. His shot early on from inside the box was deflected wide while his cross a few minutes later was collected by Deep.

Birgunj appealed for a penalty in the 16th minute after Opoku went down courtesy of Andre Biyik but the referee said otherwise. Butwal shot-stopper Mohammadou fumbled a corner in the 25th minute, but to his relief, the referee penalized Birgunj for a foul. 

Butwal skipper Arik Bista brought out a fine save from his counterpart Deep Karki in the 36th minute with a shot from outside the box. Birgunj forward Sunil Khadka struck the frame of the goal in the 55th minute from the right-hand side of the box. 

Opoku was the next in line with a couple of efforts from outside the box but none of them could trouble Mohammadou. Deep Karki denied Arik Bista in the 77th minute.

Butwal right-back Gaurab Shrestha’s clearance in the 79th minute evaded the goal by a very small margin. However, towards the end of the game, Arik Bista found Chandan Das free at the edge of the box. Das finished the move off sliding the ball through Deep’s legs to hand his side the win. 

Birgunj’s loss has, however, confirmed Lalitpur City FC’s place in the top four. However, their match against Kathmandu RayZrs will decide if they finish in top four and go on to play the first qualifier against Pokhara Thunders.

Butwal have climbed to the fifth position on the table, ahead of Kathmandu RayZrs. Kathmandu need a win against Lalitpur later today to seal their place in the top four. 

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