February 14, 2020 08:00 AM NPT
Nepal Police Club’s Jumanu Rai celebrates with his teammates after completing a hat-trick during the Martyr’s Memorial A-Division League football match against Friends Club at the ANFA Complex in Satdobato, Lalitpur on Thursday. Photo courtesy: ANFA
KATHMANDU, Feb 14: Jumanu Rai scored a second-half hat-trick to send Nepal Police Club to the National League, while Sankata Club failed stay on top six despite a big win against relegated Saraswati Youth Club in the Martyr’s Memorial A-Division League in Lalitpur on Thursday.
It was the first time Rai scored the goals this season as his treble helped Police defeat Friends Club 3-0, while Sankata thrashed Saraswati 6-2, courtesy of a first half brace from Messouke Etiegnie Oloumou Pierre Gean Marie.
Also, in the other match, Brigade Boys Club scored an injury time goal to hold Armed Police Force (APF) Club, but could not finish ahead of the departmental team in the league table.
With the win, Police has ended its season on the fifth place and confirmed its place in the National League, but Sankata has failed to do so finishing a point behind sixth-placed Jawalakhel Youth Club, which has a game in hand and even with a loss will stay sixth.
It was Police’s sixth win of the season, but a win for Jawalakhel against Manang Marshyangdi Club on Friday will see Police drop to sixth.
It has been an inconsistent season for Sankata as the team underperformed massively as it went from finishing second last season to dropping to seventh.
Sankata can also drop to the eighth place if Chyasal Youth Club, who is eighth and three points behind Sankata, defeats Three Star Club on Friday.
Later, Brigade took almost all the game to get a goal and held an already-frustrated APF side as both the teams finished second and third from bottom on same points.
In the first game of the day played at the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) Complex, Police rallied to beat a motivated Friends side with three second half goals.
Both the teams were equally good in attack and Friends had more shots and shots on target, but a clinical Rai was all Police needed to win the match.
Police got the first real chance as an 11th minute Hem Tamang shot from a long range was off target, while a Man Bahadur Pariyar shot in the 24th minute went wide.
Friends got a chance to score a goal in the 28th minute, but a free-kick from Bishow Adhikari was brilliantly saved by Police keeper Roshan Khadka.
Adhikari hit another free-kick in the 44th minute and the ball was headed by Saulo De Aquino, but it was saved by Police keeper Khadka again.
Rai replaced Hemanta Shrestha in the second half, and the goals started to flow.
Dev Limbu saved an initial shot from Rai, but could not parry the ball to safety and the former national team member scored from a close range in the 49th minute for the first Police goal. It was his first goal this season.
Police went very close to doubling its lead in the 53rd minute as a powerful shot from Rai was not handled well by keeper Limbu, but a rebound effort from Suman Subedi flew over the crossbar.
Rai then doubled the lead as his shot from inside the box was too hard for Limbu to save in the 56th minute.
He then scored from a tight angle from the corner of the box to complete his hat-trick in the 85th minute.
With the win, Police ended its season in the fifth place and has 20 points from six wins, two draws and five losses, while Friends is in the 10th place with 14 points including four wins, two draws and seven losses.
However, a win for Jawalakhel will see Police drop to sixth, while a win for Himalayan Sherpa Club will see Friends drop the 11th.
In the second match on the day, Sankata piled on Saraswati’s misery and hit six adding to the misery of the relegated team, which has conceded 36 goals this season.
Laxman Ruchal gave a pass to Massouke and he hit a good shot into the corner in the fifth minute for the first goal of the match. Massouke doubled his tally in the 33rd minute with his left footed shot.
Suvash Gurung then bagged Sankata’s third goal in the 37th minute as his chip shot from the left wing was no answer for Saraswati defense.
Massouke then gave an assist to Tika Raj Gurung, as the latter scored Sankata’s fourth goal in the 56th minute.
It went from bad to worse for Saraswati as Purna Bahadur Shrestha attempted back-pass to his keeper, but ended finding his own net in the 65th minute.
But, Saraswati pulled a goal back a minute later as Kazeem Adegoke Busari scored for Saraswati. He scored from the spot in the 79th minute to score his seventh goal of the league this season.
The game was still not over. Dipesh Ale Magar hit the woodwork. Roshan Pahadi hit a rebound to score the sixth for Sankata in the 83rd minute.
With the win, Sankata is in the seventh place with 18 points from five wins, three draws and five defeats, while Saraswati finished at the bottom with four points including a win, a draw and 11 losses.
In the last match, Aashish Lama gave a lead to APF to score his ninth goal of the season, but a third injury time minute goal from Bijay Gurung held the game 1-1.
With the result, APF and Brigade finished their season in the 11th and the 12th place with nine points from two wins, three draws and nine losses each.
Manang will take on Jawalakhel on Friday in its bid to finish in the third place, while a slip-up for Manang will see Three Star climb to third if it beats Chyasal. Also, New Road Team will take on Sherpa.