Top fires as APF hammer Police

Lalitpur, October 2

Top Bahadur Bista scored a brace and skipper Ganesh Lawati netted one as Nepal APF Club beat Nepal Police Club 3-0 in the Red Bull National League match here at the ANFA Complex today.

With the win, the youngest departmental side leapfrogged Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club to fourth position with 20 points from 11 matches. Jhapa-XI are at the top of the table with 24 points from 13 matches, followed by Ruslan Three Star Club (23) and Tribhuvan Army Club (20). Three Star and Army have played 12 matches. The loss left NPC at the seventh position with 12 points from 13 matches.

Defender Bista was the unlikely hero of the match as he scored on either half of the match before skipper Lawati sealed the victory. Bista gave an early lead to APF with a goal in the 10th minute when he charged forward, collected a pass from Heman Gurung and slammed home from inside the box that left NPC goalkeeper Ritesh Thapa stranded.

Bista doubled the tally seven minutes into the second half, capitalising on the poor defending from the NPC marksmen. Lawati then headed home following a lofted pass from Navin Lama in the 77th minute to put the issue beyond doubt.

APF coach Krishna Thapa said the victory put them back in the title race. “We created a chance to go for the title,” Thapa said. “The match against MMC will be vital in our bid to win the title,” he added. He also hoped the team would continue with the momentum and produce positive results. Thapa said the team missed the services of injured Ranjan Bista and his brother Anjan, who was drafted in the U-19 squad for the AFC U-19 Qualifiers. “We are missing firepower upfront,” he said.

NPC coach Birat Krishna Shrestha termed the match as one of the worst games of the season. “I can’t make excuses but we are forced to play with second-string team because of injury to our key players,” said Shrestha. He was pinning hopes on the experienced players for the latter part of the league. “The injured players are recovering well and I hope they will be back to give headache to other teams,” he said. “We might not be in the title race but the top teams will feel the heat,” Shrestha added.

Meanwhile, the All Nepal Football Association handed one-match ban in Three Star skipper Sagar Thapa and Tribhuvan Army Club coach Megh Raj KC for using foul language towards FIFA referee Shrawan Lama during their match on Thursday.

“The ANFA disciplinary committee headed by Mahesh Bista decided to hand a one-match suspension to Thapa and KC for foul mouthing referee Shrawan Lama,” ANFA said in a release. “The decision was taken based on the reports produced by the match commissioner, referee assessor and the referee in charge of the match. An internal punishment on referee Shrawan Lama will also be taken. Both the player and coach have been asked to furnish an explanation on their behaviour by October 5.”

The ban meant Thapa, who already has two yellow cards, will miss the next two matches of the club against Jagadamba Lumbini and Rum Pum Jhapa-XI, while KC will have to stay away from touchline in the match against Buddha Air Morang.