Tuesday, July 23

Machhindra advances to AFC Cup Qualifiers Preliminary Stage 2

By a Staff Reporter

Kathmandu – The Martyr’s Memorial ‘A’ Division League 2023 runners-up Machhindra FC secured their berth in the AFC Cup Qualifiers Preliminary Stage 2 following a victory against Paro FC. Machhindra FC triumphed 3-2 over Paro FC in the Preliminary Stage 1 match on Tuesday.

Bimal Gharti Magar, Ayush Ghalan, and Afeez Oladipo Olawale each found the back of the net for Machhindra at Dasarath Stadium. Earlier, in the previous edition, Machhindra suffered a 2-1 defeat over Sri Lanka’s Blue Star FC.

The game kicked off with Paro FC taking an early lead in the 8th minute. A well-executed play saw Kazuo’s shot find its mark following a precise cross from Yashi Dorji. Despite goalkeeper Bishal Shrestha’s efforts, the ball deflected off his hand and found its way into the net.

However, Machhindra quickly responded, with Bimal Gharti Magar equalizing just four minutes later. Bimal’s header, off a cross from Ayush Ghalan, breathed life back into the match. Ayush Ghalan then turned from provider to scorer as he deftly netted a goal in the 15th minute, capitalizing on Bimal’s setup within the box.

Afeez Oladipo extended Machhindra FC’s lead in the 39th minute with a well-timed header, thanks to Kareem Nurain’s exceptional assist. A seamless counter-attack initiated by Kareem led to the goal, showcasing the team’s coordinated effort.

Paro FC remained persistent and managed to pull one goal back in the 71st minute through Evans Asante. The tension escalated as the match neared its conclusion, with Paro FC nearly equalizing in the 90th minute. However, Bishal Shrestha’s heroic save, parrying away Kazuo’s shot, cemented Machhindra’s passage into the next round.

The intense encounter concluded with a final score of 3-2 in favor of Machhindra, despite Bimal Gharti Magar narrowly missing an opportunity to score a brace in the dying minute of the game.

Machhindra FC’s journey in the AFC Cup Qualifiers now advances to the second stage, where they are slated to face off against Mohun Bagan Super Giants. The match is scheduled to take place at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on August 16th.

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