Winless Koilapani returns home

KATHMANDU, July 14: Koilapani Polestar of Nawalparasi returned home winless after a 4-1 thrashing by Armed Police Force (APF) on Thursday in its last match of the Martyrs Memorial Red Bull A Division League at the Dasharath Stadium.

Koilapani, the first team to be relegated in the league and the only club from outside the Kathmandu Valley in the history of top flight football, conceded two goals in either half as national striker Ganesh Lawati completed a hat-trick.

With the hat-trick, Lawati also became the first player to score four hat-tricks in the ongoing league and jumped to second in the list of highest scorers with 17 goals, four goals behind top scorer Jumanu Rai of Nepal Police Club. Santosh Sahukhala (17) of Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC), Bharat Khawas (14) of Police, Dipak Rai (12) of Himalayan Sherpa, and Karna Limbu (10) and Gerard Mukonza (10) of Jawalakhel are the other leading scorers.

During the league Koilapani conceded 78 goals, the most conceded by any team. Jangbu Sherpa, who appeared in the last 11 matches, alone hit half of the 12 goals scored by Koilapani in the league.

The team lies at the bottom of the table with three points playing three draws out of 17 matches. APF, which is already safe from relegation, remained unchanged in the 12th spot with 18 points.

In the one-sided match, APF dominated the show and opened the scoring in the 25th minute through Lawati, who doubled the advantage in the 42nd and completed his hat-trick in the 73rd minute. Dipak Khadka sealed the victory five minutes from time. Jangbu Sherpa scored the only goal for Koilapani five minutes after the break.

"We will leave tomorrow and start preparations for the second division immediately," said an emotional Koilapani President Bishnu Prasad Adhikari at the post-match conference. "To complete the whole league is in itself an achievement for us," said Tara Prasad Bhusal, manager of the club that was in financial crisis and on the verge of quitting halfway through the tournament.

"A team must be financially capable and should have a competent coach to play the league in the capital," Bhusal added.

APF assistant coach Janak Singh Tharu also expressed dissatisfaction toward his team´s performance during the league. "We will again make changes in the team," said Tharu, adding, "Though we had made changes, the team did not meet the club´s expectations."

NRT fights back to earn draw

New Road Team (NRT) staged a dramatic comeback from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw against Samsung Jawalakhel Youth Club in the late match held at the Dasharath Stadium.

Jawalakhel was not worried about the outcome of the match as it was already guaranteed a third place finish in the league despite a win or a loss. Jawalakhel has 36 points, while NRT also remained unchanged in sixth place with 32 points.

In the slow-paced match, Jawalakhel took a 16th minute lead through Karna Limbu who scored a spectacular goal in the near post from the box after beating three opponent defenders. Kenyan recruit Gerard Mukonza doubled the tally in the 59th minute in a counter-attack utilizing a ball released by his custodian Min Basnet.

NRT opened its account five minutes later when Olayinka Edrislehi brilliantly beat goalie Basnet in a short pass from Aaron Blackie Cole. Roshan Lamichhane hit the equalizer from the box during the fading moments from close range out of a scuffle after receiving a pass set by Cole.

"Today we gave chances to new players but failed to achieve victory," Jawalakhel coach Kishor KC said, adding that he was satisfied with the team´s overall performance in the league.

Himalayan Sherpa thrashes United

Yeti Airlines Himalayan Sherpa Club thrashed already relegated United Youth Club 7-0 with a brace each from Dipak Rai, Kigozi Ismail and Jagjeet Shrestha and one from Saroj Dahal. Though Oliver Temb scored in the 21st minute to level the scoring at 1-1, United conceded half-a-dozen more goals in the second half.

Himalayan Sherpa is in fourth spot with 33 points. However, seventh placed Three Star (31 points) could replace Himalayan Sherpa in the fourth place if it beats Friends Club in its last match to be played on Saturday.

Newly-promoted United finished the league campaign second from the bottom with six points.

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