Friends, TAC enter semis

Kathmandu, June 8

Friends Club and Tribhuvan Army Club advanced to the semi-finals of the Lalit Memorial Under-18 Football Championship here at the ANFA Complex grounds today.

Friends rallied for a 3-2 victory over Nepal APF Club, while defending champions TAC hammered Saraswoti Youth Club 5-0 in their quarter-final matches.

In the first match, APF took a two-goal lead before Friends hit back with three goals to seal the victory. APF skipper Ajit Waiba put the team ahead in the seventh minute of the match before Pradip Rana doubled the tally in the 33rd minute.

Friends came out as a different team in the second and slammed home three goals after taking control over the match. Aashish KC reduced the deficit with a goal in the 50th minute before Dikshit Thapa levelled the scores in the 79th minute. Nishan Thapa Magar then scored the match-winning goal in the 90th minute to seal the victory.

Friends Club coach Ramesh Maharjan said they decided to deploy Aashish KC in the front line and the strategy paid off. “My boys could not play to their potential in the first half. And we made a couple of changes in the playing positions of the players during the break and that proved to be fruitful for us,” Maharjan said. APF coach Roman Rasaili was not satisfied with his players. “We missed a lot of chances,” he said.

In another match, holders TAC made easy inroads against Saraswoti Youth Club, who scored two own goals. Rishab Raj Adhikari started the slide with an own goal in the 14th minute to give TAC the lead. Dinesh Yonzon doubled the tally in the 69th minute, while Sanjeet Rai of Saraswoti netted into his own nets in 78th minute. Gaurab Gurung made it 4-0 with a goal in 84th minute before Manish Khadka completed the rout in the injury time of the match.

On Friday, Jawalakhel Youth Club will face CMG Club Sankata, while Nepal Police Club are up against Himalayan Sherpa Club in quarter-final matches.