17 Sept 2009 - Skipper Nirajan Malla struck a hat-trick to steer ANFA U-19 team to the final of the National Inter-club Football Tournament with a 3-1 win over Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club here today.
The ANFA boys bounced back from a goal deficit to register a comprehensive win over the departmental team, who had taken a lead through Top Bahadur Bista’s goal. APF took the lead early in the first half when Bista headed home from close following a freekick from Nar Bahadur Rai.
Malla found the equaliser in the 39th minute, a brilliantly struck goal from 25 yards. Malla put his team in front in the 69th minute when his teammate Sujan Shrestha’s attempt rebounded off APF goalkeeper Rupesh Shrestha allowing the ANFA U-19 skipper to slot home for a 2-1 lead.
The ANFA U-19 skipper completed his hat-trick — the first of the tournament — in the dying moments, converting a cross from Rupesh KC.
The ANFA U-19 coach Kishor KC expressed satisfaction over the result but warned his boys to excel their game for the upcoming AFC U-19 Championship qualifiers. The AFC U-19 Championship Group A qualifier is slated here from October 25 to November 4. “We played well in the first half but constant pressure in the latter half broke our players down,” said APF coach Maheswor Mulmi.
The ANFA U-19 team will play for the championship against the winners of Friday’s second semi-final match between Tribhuvan Army Club and Himalayan Sherpa Club.