Lalitpur, February 10
Saraswoti Youth Club have been relegated to B Division as they faced 2-1 against Chyasal Youth Club and Nepal APF Mahindra Football Team registered an unlikely 5-2 victory over NIBL Friends Club in the penultimate round of the Qatar Airways Martyrs Memorial A Division League today.
With just one round remaining, Saraswoti earned just four points, while APF recorded crucial victory and moved to safety with eight points, tied with Brigade Boys Club. With the win, Chyasal moved to ninth with 15 points, tied with New Road Team and Sankata Club, who faced a 3-1 defeat at the hands of San Miguel Machhindra FC in the day’s third match.
With their ninth victory, Machhindra moved to the top of the 14-team table with 28 points replacing Tribhuvan Army Club, who have 25 points from 11 matches. Defending champions NOC Manang Marshyangdi Club are third with 22 points, followed by Ruslan Three Star Club (20) and Prabhu Jawalakhel Youth Club (18).
In the day’s first match at the ANFA Complex grounds, Aashish Lama and Prabin Kumar Syangtan scored two each and skipper Top Bahadur Bista netted one for APF, while Felipe de Sauza and Bishow Adhikari replied for Friends. The victory took the departmental side towards safety and the confirmed their stay in top division after Saraswoti’s defeat.
Lama opened the scoring in the 13th minute with a header before he doubled the tally in the 40th minute in rebound after Friends goalkeeper Sojit Gurung spilled the ball. Felipe de Sauza reduced the deficit in the 68th minute following a pass from Rumesh Bartaula before Syangtan restored the twogoal cushion for Saraswoti three minutes later.
Bishow Adhikari made it 3-2 for Friends in the 76th minute when he converted the free kick, while APF skipper Bista and Syangtan struck twice in the injury time to seal the comprehensive victory. APF’s Aashish Lama was named the Kelme man of the match.
In another match, Chyasal recorded a 2-1 victory to condemn Saraswoti to relegation.
Taiga Nakamura opened the scoring for Chyasal in the 18th minute when he converted the free kick into the sensational goal. Hayato Wakino doubled the tally from the spot after Saraswoti defender Mbei Andre Ekwem brought him down in the penalty box.
Kazeem Adegoke Busari scored for Saraswoti in fourth minute of the injury time but that was not enough for the team to avert the defeat and stop relegation. Taiga Nakamura of Chyasal was named the Kelme man of the match.
Saraswoti had first made it to A division in 2006 but they were relegated after a year in top flight. Saraswoti returned to A division four years later after the All Nepal Football Association promoted four clubs to end the dispute with Nepal Football Association.
The Koteshwor-based outfit played top flight football for four seasons and Saraswoti’s lone title came last year when they won the Bagmati Gold Cup in Makawanpur.
Meanwhile, Machhindra moved to the top of the table with a 3-1 victory over neighbours Sankata. Devendra Tamang opened the scoring for Machhindra with a header following a corner from Ranjit Dhimal in the 44th minute. Bishal Rai doubled the tally in 64th minute when Sankata goalkeeper Binay Shrestha failed to judge the long-range free kick.
Dipak Rai made it 3-0 in the 82nd minute after he scored a brilliant goal on a pass from Ranjit Dhimal.
Messouke Etiegnie Oloumou pulled one back for Sankata in the 89th minute with a left-footed shot. Devendra Tamang of Machhindra was adjudged the Kelme man of the match.
A version of this article appears in print on February 11, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.