Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) claimed the Martyrs Memorial Red Bull ‘A’ Division title for the record seventh time defeating Nepal Police Club (NPC) 2-0 in the Super League stage here at the Dasharath Stadium today.
Second half strikes from Yona Elias Ndabila and Sujal Shrestha saw MMC become the first team to claim the League title for the seventh time beating RCT’s record of claiming six crowns. MMC are yet to play their last round match against archrivals and defending champions Laxmi Bank Three Star Club on Saturday.
Apart from a hefty cash prize of Rs 7.5 million, MMC will also represent Nepal in the AFC President’s Cup. MMC had previously claimed the League titles in 1986, 1987, 1989, 2000, 2003 and 2006.
The League triumph was MMC’s fifth trophy in the Nepali calendar year. They had claimed Gurkha Cup here in June, King’s Cup in Bhutan in August, Safal Pokhara Cup in November and Ncell Cup in December.
MMC coach Hari Om Shrestha praised whole team for the success. “We have been dreaming of this day since the beginning of the League. Although we made a brilliant start, we were not up to the mark in the middle stage but managed to lift the trophy at the end,” said the coach crediting his players, management and coaching staff for the success.
“The hectic schedule might have affected the performance of every team. Our performance was also not consistent throughout the campaign,” added the coach. “A draw or loss today would have made it difficult for us. We were aiming to lift the trophy before playing against Three Star since they are better than Police,” said Shrestha.
Skipper Sagar Thapa, who along with Anil Gurung was the members of the MMC squad that won the trophy back in 2006, said winning back the title again was not an easy task. “Although our performance was not consistent in the League, we were lucky to lift the trophy. When we lost the points, our opponents missed on taking full advantage of that. So we managed to hang on at the top,” added the skipper.
“When I won the trophy with MMC eight years ago that was my first major trophy. To lead the same team to another title triumph has given me a great feeling,” added Sagar, the national team skipper.
In an only notable attack of the first half, NPC goalkeeper Ritesh Thapa made a finger-tip save to prevent Deepak Rai’s header in the stoppage time. MMC were a better side after the resumption and took a 53rd minute lead with unmarked Yona heading home Deepak’s cross.
Sujal then doubled the tally converting a 20-yard freekick at the far post. MMC were awarded the freekick at the edge after NPC defender Suman Subedi tripped Yona. NPC coach Birat Krishna Shrestha believed better side won the title. “I had considered MMC and Three Star as the strong contenders. And MMC deserved it,” added Shrestha.
Journey in League
• 1982: Established and promoted to ‘C’ Division
• 1984: Promoted to ‘B’ Division after winning ‘C’ Division league
• 1985: Jump to top tier football with ‘B’ Division title
• 1986: Won first ever top-flight League in their maiden appearance
• 1987: Won back-to-back ‘A’ Division League title
• 1989: Completed a hat-trick of ‘A’ Division League titles
• 2000: Won fourth title of the ‘A’ Division League
• 2003: Win fifth ‘A’ Division League crown
• 2006: Equalled RCT’s record of six titles of the top tier league
• 2014: Become the only ‘A’ Division outfit to claim record seven League titles