KATHMANDU, May 31: Tribhuvan Army Club moved a step closer to the quarterfinals of the ongoing Lalit Memorial U-18 Championship, registering a thumping win of 5-1 over Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club on Wednesday.
The defending champion which has now accumulated six points from two matches to top group B had defeated Farwest FC 2-0 in its first match last week. Meanwhile, after facing a straight second defeat Manang is now on the brink of elimination from the championship. Manang was beaten by Friends' Club 3-0 in its first group match.
In the match played at ANFA Complex, Satdobato, Army took the lead in the 20th minute with Prijen Tamang scoring the opener, nutmegging Manang's goalkeeper Navaraj Niraula.
The army club produced two goals within the gap of five minutes in the second half to make 3-0 with Dinesh Yonjon and Dorje Tamang netting one each goal in the 62nd and 67th minute, respectively. Manang pulled back one goal in the 74th minute to make 3-1 while Ram Dhakal scoring in own net saw the Army leading the match by 4-1. Roman Limbu netted Army's fifth goal in the 90th minute. Earlier in the first match of the day played at ANFA Complex, Saraswoti Youth Club (SYC) beat Rum Pum Jhapa XI 3-2 to leave the Jhapa-based outfit on the brink of exit. Jhapa has just one point from two matches to stay at the bottom in group A while Saraswoti have three points from two clashes.
Earlier in the first match of the day, Rohan Thapaliya, Dipak Ghising and Sujan Shrestha netted one goal each for SYC while Ajay Danuwar and Sabin Thapa Magar replied for Jhapa XI.
First half substitute Rohan put SYC in the driving seat scoring in the 45th minute utilizing a pass from Sujan Shrestha. SYC extended its lead by 2-0 with Dipak Ghising scoring a brilliant free kick goal in the 60th minute. Seven minutes later, Sujan Shrestha made 3-0 for Saraswati. Jhapa XI pulled back one goal in the 70th minute with striker Ajay Danuwar scoring a close range goal in Prabesh Gurung's free kick delivery. Sabin Thapa Magar netted Jhapa's second goal of the match but it was too late for his team to make a comeback.
After the match, SYC Manager Krishna Gopal Shrestha praised the performance of his players. “Today my players did very well, the combination between various departments was good. The goalkeeper also made some brilliant saves. It was a good game,” said Shrestha. He also said that his team has now 50-50 chance to make it to the last eight. “We still have hopes; it is now 50-50 and we have to win our next match to make it to the quarterfinals,” added Shrestha.
Meanwhile, Jhapa's Coach Prabesh Katwal expressed satisfaction over the performance of his team. “We have taken this tournament as an exposure for the young players rather than as a competition to win at any cost,” said Katwal, “Despite the defeat, I am happy with the performance of these young players''.
On Thursday, Jagadamba Lumbini FC will take on Himalayan Sherpa Club in a group C fixture while CMG Sankata Club and Brigade Boys Club will compete in a group D match.