KATHMANDU, May 28: Jagadamba Lumbini Football Club and CMG Club Sankata registered victories in the ongoing Lalit Memorial U-18 Championship on Sunday. Both sides produced identical wins of 2-0 over New Road Team (NRT) and Morang Fotball Club (MFC) respectively at ANFA Complex on the second day of the championship.
In the first match of the day, Ajit Thapa and Anup Gurung netted one goal each to help Lumbini make winning start in the competition. Last year's runner-up Lumbini took lead with Ajit scoring in the 26th minute.
After NRT's defenders failed to clear Lumbini's Ranjit Thapa's corner, defender Ajit Thapa collected it in danger zone to score from close range in order to put his team in the driving seat. Striker Anup Gurung scored off brilliant header utilizing cross from Amrit Gurung in the 55th minute, which also became final goal of the match.
After the match Lumbini's Coach Bikash Gurung said that his players weren't familiar with ANFA ground's artificial turf. “My players aren't habitual of playing on such artificial turf which eventually affected our performance. Players can't make efficient run and good passes due to the nature of this pitch, which heats up in hot temperature” said Gurung.
He also said that there is big change in squad that reached to the final of last year's edition of this championship. “More than 80% players are new in this team as majority of the players of the squad that reached to the final last year now play for the first team. So we are not stronger than last year. Still this year also our target is to get into the finals,” he added.
On the same occasion Gurung said that ANFA need to focus on the football of out of Kathmandu valley as well. “ANFA is more centered in the capital but there are lots of talented players outside the Kathmandu valley. We want to do well in this tournament in order to make ANFA believe that there are lots of top class talented player outside of the Kathmandu valley also,” he asserted.
The match, which saw both teams opting 4-4-2 playing system, was dull during the first 20 minutes. The first real chance in the match was created by winning side Lumbini when winger Prince Gurung made strong sprint on the left flank to put the ball in the 18-yard for Anup in 22nd minute. However Anup failing to control the ball coming from his team mate saw striker making strong attempt.
Few minutes later NRT attempted their first shot of the game as Manish Poudel charged the ball from the edge of 18-yard but winger couldn't give the ball right direction.
Lumbini started the second half aggressively with unmarked Amrit Gurung's attempting a powerful shot from the danger zone but NRT's goalkeeper Sandesh Gurung punched it to prevent his team from conceding second goal.
Meanwhile NRT's coach Maheshwor Mulimi said that his team lacks proper training ground and conducting training in small ground and futsal pitch haven't helped. “We don't have proper ground to train, we practice on small ground and futsal pitch which eventually prevents us to work on passing and build up,” said Mulmi.
“The players of this team haven't played much together and we had trained for just two weeks. Our preparation was simply not good enough,” added Mulmi.
Sankata 2-0 Morang Football Club
In the second match of day, Dipesh Ale Magar scored Sankata's both goals in win over Morang. Dipesh gave lead to 10 men Sankata in 10th minute and added another in 65th minute.
Sankata was reduced to 10 men when Sakal Regmi got his marching orders in 41st minute but Morang couldn't utilize the situation in order to make their comeback in the match.
Sankata coach Sagun Tandukar said the fighting spirit exhibited by the players was the reason behind the victory.
On Monday, Armed Police Force (APF) will take on Sarashwoti Youth Club in the first match while Friend's Club and Manang Marsyangdi Club will compete in the second match of the day.