Army thrash Far-west, go atop

Kathmandu, October 9

Tribhuvan Army Club thrashed Sudur Biscuit Far-west Football Club 7-0 and moved atop the standing in the Red Bull National League here at the ANFA Complex grounds today.

Nawayug Shrestha scored a brace, while skipper Bharat Khawas, Tanka Basnet, Deep Lama, Tek Bahadur Budhathoki and Raju Tamang netted one goal each for the Armymen. With the win, TAC moved to the top of the table, at least for 24 hours, with 27 points from 14 matches, replacing Ruslan Three Star Club (26 from 13). Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club are third with 25 from 13 matches, while Jhapa-XI are fourth with 24 and Nepal APF Club are fifth with 23. Far-west remained at sixth with 17 from 15 matches.

After both the teams wasted early chances, TAC — who came in new kits after completing a sponsorship deal with Samsung yesterday — took the lead in 35th minute when Khawas headed home following a cross from Hiranya Magar. Basnet doubled the lead four minutes later after he collected Khawas’ pass, guided the ball inside the box and slammed home from close range.

Far-west received blow when they lost Ananta Tamang and Bimal Gharti Magar — members of U-19 team that returned home yesterday after participating in the AFC U-19 Qualifiers in Iran — because of injury. Lama made it 3-0 for the Armymen four minutes into the second half before Far-west were reduced to 10 men after Tej Gurung was expelled for the second bookable offence in the 69th minute.

The Armymen made the numerical advantage count and scored four goals in the last 11 minutes. Budhathoki netted the team’s fourth goal in the 79th when his curling shot from the right flank found the roof of the net, while Raju Tamang scored in rebound after Far-west goalkeeper Birendra Bahadur Chand denied Nawayug Shrestha in the 82nd minute. Shrestha then slammed in two goals in three minutes, first he netted the team’s sixth goal in the 85th minute and converted from the spot three minutes after Ravi Bhandari brought down Deepak Gurung inside the penalty box.

TAC coach Meghraj KC was satisfied with the performance of his team. “The U-19 team members looked exhausted from the AFC Qualifiers and we were able to take advantage of that,” he said. “The standard of the Far-west players was low on the pitch as they came after playing three international matches,” he added. KC was also quick to dedicate the victory to Samsung, the new sponsors of the team.

Far-west coach Kiran Shrestha said his players were tired and playing tough match against Army was hard. “They just returned yesterday and to expect a tough performance in the space of 24 hours is hard,” he said. “Players put in their best despite losing key players Ananta Tamang , Bimal Gharti Magar because of injuries and Tej Gurung was expelled which made us more difficult.”