Lawati shines in AFF win over Mega

KATHMANDU, June 4: Ganesh Lawati netted all four goals in the 4-0 victory of Armed Police Force (APF) over Mega Three Star Club to dash its title hopes in the Martyrs Memorial Red Bull A Division League Football which resumed on Monday after a break of about a week.

With four matches to spare, Three Star with 28 points resides unchanged in the third position, seven points behind leader Nepal Police Club, and six behind second placed Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC). APF unchanged at the 12th spot strengthened its grip in the table with 15 points.

"We are practically out of the title race though we still have mathematical chances," Three Star coach Meghraj KC said after the match.

Superb Lawati who netted four also became the first player to score three hat-tricks in the current edition of league and took his tally to 12 goals. Lawati had earlier scored hat-tricks against Brigade Boys and United Youth. He occupies fourth position in the highest scorer list behind Jumanu Rai (17) and Bharat Khawas (14) of Police and Santosh Sahukhala (13) of MMC.

"I had aimed to score at least two goals but achieved four. The home ground also became an extra advantage," Lawati said after the match.

For its first victory at the home ground Halchowk, APF dominated the show after interval and netted three goals during the period to inflict the highest margin defeat to Patan-based club in the ongoing league. The defending line-up consisting of Three Star skipper Sanjeev Budhathoki, Dipesh Thapamagar and Bikash Singh Chhetri were also largely responsible for the poor show.

Three Star consisting of five national players conceded first goal in the 25th minute when a brilliant Lawati made a powerful shot form the box to stun diving goalie Kiran Chemjong taking advantage of misunderstanding between defenders Budhathoki and Thapamagar.

Unmarked Lawati doubled the tally in the 55th minute when he made a powerful header from the box in a long cross of Amir Shrestha. Lawati completed the hattrick in the 77th minute in the counter attack utilizing a long clearance from Shrestha dribbling around Budhathoki and Chemjong. He sealed the victory in the third minute of stoppage time through a powerful shot beating an advancing goalie Chemjong.

Though Three Star made an impressive start, it could not continue with the rhythm in the later stage of the match. Three Star thrice made impressive attack on goals, but was twice denied by goalie Samit Rajbhandari. In the first minute, Vishad Gauchan´s right flank shot hit the woodwork. APF also squandered some other scoring chances.
"We conceded last three goals in counter attack as the defenders made silly mistakes," Three Star coach KC said, adding the team was not well set due to break of more than a week.
"Though we had come for a win, we had not expected such a wide victory," said APF assistant coach Janak Singh Tharu.

Army beats Friends

With twin goals from Santosh Nepali, Nepal Army Club registered a 3-1 win over Friends Club at the Halchowk which lifted the departmental team to seventh position from ninth. The victory also became a blissful beginning for the former national coach Yogambar Suwal who was assigned to coach of departmental team a week ago.

With this win, Army garnered 22 points jumping two spots while Friends remained steady in the 10th place with 17 points.

Nepali opened scoring in the 16th minute utilizing a corner of Tanka Basnet. However, Friends leveled score in the 63rd minute when Prakash Budhathoki´s superb strike from box after beating two defenders entered the net.

Nawayug Shrestha restored Army´s lead in the 73rd minute through a one-touch strike from the box and Nepali ensured the victory in three minutes later when his quick shot from the box entered the back of net.

Army´s assistant coach Babukaji Dhaubanjar lauded his team´s performance. "The result has opened the door for top eight positions," Dhaubanjar said.

United achieves first win

In the clash among relegation battlers, United Youth Club came up from a goal deficit to beat Swayambu Club 4-0 and achieve first victory at the Dasharath Stadium.
Swayambhu took lead in the 25th minute through Chinedu Fransis. But Rukesh Shrestha hit back the equalizer in the 42nd minute and Olivier Temb netted twice in the stoppage time of first half and 71st minute. The last goal for United came in the 84th minute through Niraja Shrestha who came as a substitute.

With the result, United with six points moved a step further to occupy the 16th place pushing Swayambhu a spot behind to 17th. However, none of them could move out of relegation zone. Bottom four will be relegated to the second division.

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