KATHMANDU, May 29: Armed Police Force (APF) and Friends' Club emerged victorious in the ongoing Lalit Memorial U-18 Championship on Monday. In the matches played at the ANFA Complex APF registered hard fought 3-2 victory over Saraswoti Youth Club (SYC) while Friends' stunned Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marsyangdi 3-0.
In the first match of the day Ajit Waiba scored brace for APF while skipper Siddhartha Bal added another. Likewise, Om Prakash Singh and Swarup Thapa Magar netted one goal each for SYC.
Om Prakash scored off brilliant header utilizing the cross from Saurabh Dhimal in the injury time of first half to put SYC in the driving seat. However, APF found the equalizer in 61st minute with second half substitute Ajit Waiba scoring in his solo effort. Ajit who had come in the place of Jordan Pun Magar in the first minute of the second half, dribbled past SYC's two defenders before slotting the ball into right corner of the net.
Departmental team's youth side extended its lead in 76th minute as Ajit scored his personal second of the match. APF's right back Anjan Thapa had charged long ball from right flank which Ajit utilized to make 2-1. SYC made 2-2 in 85th minute with Swarup Thapa Magar scoring in a direct free kick but Siddhartha pulling decisive goal in the injury time saw APF sealing 3-2 win.
After the match APF's Coach Niraj Shrestha praised the performance of Ajit Waiba. “He is our one of the key players but he was not feeling well which prevented him to train regularly that's why we were unable to keep him in playing XI. But he came on second half and scored two great goals,” said Shrestha.
However, he was not satisfied with the defense of his team. “Our central halves were slow today and they also seemed tired in the game. Hopefully we will sort out the defensive problem in next game,” added Shrestha.
Meanwhile, SYC's assistant coach Krishna Gopal Shrestha said that his team is now under pressure in the competition after facing defeat. “We expected to pull victory today but this defeat has brought lot of pressure on the team. Now we have to win our both matches in the group,” said SYC's coach Shrestha.
He also admitted playing deep after scoring first goal didn't help. “We should have played more attackingly but players stayed deep which allowed the opponent to press us more,” ended Shrestha. Now SYC will play against Tribhuvan Army Club and Farwest FC in remaining group B matches.
Similarly in the second match of the day Rumesh Bartaula netted twice and Dhiraj Shrestha added another in Friends' 3-0 win over Manang Marsyangdi.
Friends' Club, which returned to any form of official tournament in three years dominate the possession but had to wait until the second half to find the goal. Ramesh scored header just into the second minute of second half and found his second goal in the 82nd minute. Three minutes later Dhiraj Shrestha scored Friends' third and final goal beating Manang's goalkeeper Navaraj Nirala one versus one.