Thursday, May 23

Jhapa FC Register Their First Win In Nepal Super League

Sandesh Sigdel, Kathmandu

After three successive draws that followed the defeat against Sporting Ilam FC in their first-ever Nepal Super League encounter, Jhapa FC have registered the first win in their short history. Jhapa defeated FC Butwal Lumbini 1-0 to taste their first victory in the franchise’s history.

Anjan Bista came back to the starting XI following two matches on the sidelines with a shoulder injury. To add to that, it was their Spanish striker, Jorge Sanchez, who looked bemused prior to today’s match, that scored the winner to give his side a historic victory.

Jhapa had to pick their XI without Yogesh Gurung, who was facing a one-match suspension following his sending-off in their goalless draw against fellow newcomers Birgunj United FC.

Butwal were looking to feed Gillespye Jung Karki, the Player of the Match in their previous outing, on the left in the starting minutes. However, he failed to replicate his heroics. Jhapa fullback Sumit Shrestha had a good start to the game, feeding Sanchez inside the box early on in the match and also making an important last-ditch tackle to deny Aashish Lama. 

Laxman Ruchal and Prashant Laksam ignored their returning skipper Anjan Bista to make long-range strikes from distance, leaving him agitated. 

Jhapa were saved by the woodwork in between those two events after Binong’s heavy first touch fell kindly for Serge Song. He stroke the frame of the goal and failed to hit the rebound past Cupic who made a good save to keep the match goalless. 

Laxman Ruchal failed to put Jhapa in front after failing to convert a rebound that looked easier to score than miss in the 20th minute. Anjan Bista forced a save from Butwal goalkeeper Mohammadou and the ball was there for the taking but Ruchal, with his weaker foot, failed to hit on target. Three minutes later, Sanchez forced Mohammadou to make another save with his feet. 

In the 39th minute, however, Jhapa took the lead. Anjan Bista’s pass after getting the ball off Saroj Tamang on the left hand side put Sanchez through. Sanchez took a touch and strided pass Biyik to toe-poke the ball past Mohammadou to net his first goal of the campaign. 

Butwal had a penalty appeal waved off early in the second half when Stephane Binong was brought down in the box by Samandar Ochilov. But it was Jhapa who continued to create at the other end. 

Anjan Bista did well to control a lofted pass from Awas Lamichhane inside the box but struck it high in the 61st minute. An exquisite one-two between Prashant Laksam and Sanchez on the edge of the box put Laksam through on goal, but right-back Gaurab Shrestha was there to intercept. 

Mohammadou made a double save to deny Jhapa from guaranteeing a win in the 83rd minute. He pushed the shot from Sanchez to the crossbar and made a diving save to his left to deny substitute Samiraj Thokar to keep the deficit at one. However, Jhapa clung on to their lead and gathered all three points from the match.

Jhapa have climbed to sixth on the table with six points from five matches so far. Butwal stay sixth with seven points from six matches.

Birgunj United FC will lock horns against Sporting Mechi FC in Wednesday’s encounter at the Dasharath Stadium. The match will commence at 5 PM. 

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