Lawati shines as APF rout Lumbini

Lalitpur, October 8

Ganesh Lawati struck a hat-trick as Nepal APF Club thrashed Jagadamba Lumbini FC 5-1 in the Red Bull National League here at ANFA Complex grounds today.

Lawati scored his second treble of the current league, while Santosh Shrestha and Shyam Nepali added a goal each for the departmental team. Suraj Hamal scored the consolation goal for Lumbini FC.

With the win, APF remained unmoved at fifth place with 23 points from 13 matches and were within three points of leaders Ruslan Three Star Club. MMC are second with 25, ahead of Tribhuvan Army and Jhapa-XI, who both have 24 points.

APF took hold of the match from the beginning and Lawati put the team ahead in the fourth minute when he easily placed the ball behind the nets following a pass from Shyam Nepali. Nepali was the scorer as APF doubled the lead four minutes later after he dodged in one-on-one situation with Lumbini goalkeeper Manoj Gurung.

Suraj Hamal then cut the deficit in the 37th minute. Lawati restored the two-goal lead in the first half injury time when he headed home off a Ranjan Bista pass.

Lawati completed his hat-trick in the 56th minute. Fed by Nepali inside the six-yard box, Lawati found the back of the nets to score his second hat-trick in the league. Substitute Santosh Shrestha, who came in place of Ranjan Bista, put the issue beyond doubt with a goal in the 80th minute when he scored from the close range.

APF coach Krishna Thapa said they back in the title race after the win. “The boys played well today and I am satisfied with their performance,” he said. “We will now focus on the matches against Three Star and Jhapa,” he said. “Our key players Ranjan Bista and Anjan Bista are back and Lawati’s current form will help us a lot in the upcoming vital matches,” Thapa added.

Lumbini coach Yam Gurung said they made a bad start and kept on conceding goals. “We lost the momentum after the first two goals as APF kept on pressing our defenders,” Gurung said. “And we could not convert the chances they came our way.”

On Friday, Tribhuvan Army Club will take on Sudur Biscuit Far-west FC at the ANFA Complex grounds.