August 6, 2016 02:40 AM NPT
Roop Lama (L) of Armed Police Force and Niranjan Khadka of Three Star Club vie for the ball during a friendly match at the ANFA ground, Satdobato on Friday. (Bijay Rai/Republica)
KATHMANDU, Aug 6: National League champion Ruslan Three Star Club thrashed a new-look APF 5-0 in a friendly match played on Friday as part of preparation for the AFC Cup Qualifiers.
Asim Jung Karki, who returned to the ground after nearly two years following injury, netted twice while Martin, Roshan Mal and Sunil Bal scored a goal each for Mongolia-bound Three Star in the match played at ANFA Complex, Satdobato.
Asim gave the lead to Three Star as early as in the fourth minute scoring a rebounder off goalkeeper Bikram Gurung in his bid to prevent Nirajan Khadka's strike.
Capitalizing on the misunderstanding between APF custodian Bikram and debutant defender Santosh Katuwal, Asim scored another goal to double his tally.
Three Star's head coach Megh Raj KC had put his team in a 4-4-2 formation and paired Asim and Nigerian Martin upfront.
The coach's trust in the Nigerian paid off as he made the tally 3-0 by scoring a free header in a cross off Buddha Chemjong's strike from right flank in the 28th minute.
All of the three goals resulted due to misunderstanding between APF goalkeeper Bikram and debutant defenders. APF head coach Kumar Thapa had given chance to eight new faces in the match -- three each in defense and midfield and two in attack.
Three Star debutant striker Roshan Bal scored his first goal for the Patan-based outfit in the first minute of second half. Bal arrived from England to take part in the AFC Cup Qualifiers with Three Star.
Despite conceding early goals, APF came with a better performance in the second half. It enjoyed ball possession and created some attractive chances but failed to capitalize on them.
APF missed a golden chance to score a consolation goal in the 89th minute as Shyam Nepali squandered the chance from close range.
Three Star's second-half substitute Sunil Bal made a stunning finish in added time to kill the match with a scoreline of 5-0.
Three Star head coach Megh Raj KC wasn't fully satisfied with the performance despite the convincing score. “I am not satisfied with the performance. The boys followed only 60% of instructions. We still have a lot to improve,” KC said after the match.
KC said that his team was not easy with the 4-4-2 formation which they are going to use in Mongolia.
He also expects his forward line to get more settled in the coming days. “We have found new strikers in Roshan while Asim has just returned from injury layoff. They are yet to develop proper coordination with Martin and Buddha. We have more than one week before leaving for AFC Cup Qualifiers, so I hope the forward line will be better in the coming matches,” KC added.
APF coach Kumar Thapa expressed his satisfaction over the performance. “We took this match as an opportunity to give exposure to our young players, so I am pretty happy with the performance,” said Thapa.
He also said that they conceded goals due to misunderstanding between the defense and goalkeeper. “We had new players in defense, so the defense line-up and goalkeeper lacked proper understanding,” said the former Nepali international who came to the touchline instead of veteran Krishna Thapa.
Thapa also said that they have taken this match as preparation for the upcoming Nepal Cup that is going to be held in Chitwan.
Three Star will play its second friendly against another departmental team Tribhuvan Army Club on Sunday at ANFA Complex, Satdobato.
National League winner Three Star is leaving for Mongolia on August 16 to compete in the AFC Cup Playoff Qualifiers.