Saturday, May 18

Late Equalizer Against Dhangadhi Seals Top Spot For Pokhara

Sandesh Sigdel, Kathmandu

A late equalizer from Pokhara’s talisman Moses Gyabba has sealed the top spot for Pokhara Thunders in the second edition of the Nepal Super League. Moses, who entered the pitch in the second half after being rested from the starting XI, scored the equalizer in the 90th minute. 

In the 42nd minute, Dhangadhi seized the lead when Ahmad Hijazi, securing the ball near his own box, delivered a precise long pass to Olawale. Despite Franklin Talla’s effective coverage, Olawale managed to regain possession. Talla’s subsequent attempt to pass to goalkeeper Yves Priso lacked enough power, resulting in an easy interception by Olawale. Without hesitation, Olawale squared the ball to Milan Rai, who effortlessly converted it into a goal.

Pokhara, despite a valiant effort to equalize, had to wait until the final minute of regulation time. Suraj Jeu Thakuri’s cross off a free kick evaded everyone and reached Moses at the far post who was free and put the ball into an unguarded net with ease. 

Earlier, Dhangadhi shot-stopper Mohammad Taha made a fine save to deny Sanjeeb Bista in a one-on-one opportunity. At the other end, Priso kept the ball from barely crossing the goalline after Ahmad Hijazi directed a Milan Rai shot towards goal in the 33rd minute. 

Mohammad Taha came to Dhangadhi’s rescue again in the 45th minute as he saved a shot from Kamal Bahadur Thapa while already on the ground. The ball reached to Kamal after Stephan Annor’s cross was deflected onto the crossbar and back into the box. 

Taha, who later claimed the Player of the Match award, parried away a Suraj Jeu Thakuri free-kick in the 61st minute. Pokhara gave goalkeeper Dev Limbu a few minutes of game time and he was called into action in the 80th minute as he came off the line to save an Abhisekh Gurung effort.

After equalizing in the 90th minute, Moses kept troubling the Dhangadhi backline in the stoppage time, coming close to scoring again thrice. Taha saved the first of his three efforts with his face outside the box. The second effort went high of the post, while the third was collected by Taha with ease. 

Pokhara have managed to get to 15 points from their eight matches and secured the top spot. Dhangadhi, meanwhile, are in second place with 13 points from as many matches. Dhangadhi will need to wait out until the final match between Lalitpur and Kathmandu as well as today’s second match between Jhapa and Chitwan. 

Lalitpur and Jhapa can both eclipse Dhangadhi with wins in their respective matches. 

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