APF within touching distance of league titleAfter thumping Waling 6-0 on Saturday, the leaders are now only two wins away from their fourth trophy.
Armed Police Force (APF) Club on Saturday thrashed Waling Municipality 6-0 to notch up their ninth consecutive win and close in on retaining their National Women’s League title as the tournament nears conclusion.
Their next fixtures are against Nepal Police Club on February 15 and Biratnagar Metropolitan City on February 17—before they take on Army on the final day on February 19.
With five points separating the leaders from the second-placed Tribhuvan Army Club, who have 22 points, they now need to keep their perfect record for two more games to clinch their fourth trophy.
Having already beaten Police 3-0 and Biratnagar 7-0 in their first leg, the departmental giants are the clean favourites for the title.
Their firepower Sabitra Bhandari has now 43 goals in her name, and the national team striker was on target again scoring five times against a strong Waling side. Preeti Rai also got in the scoresheet.
At the ANFA Complex, Bhandari put APF in front in the seventh minute with a brilliant strike, first controlling a pass from Saru Limbu with her chest before volleying the ball into the back of net.
Limbu had a hand in their second as she released Bhandari on the left defying the off-side trap and Bhandari whizzed past unsupported goalkeeper Sabitri Kishan.
She got her hat-trick four minutes later racing past three defenders before sending the ball into the top right corner.
Rai then came off the bench minutes before the break and soon added another in the injury time when her shot went over the advancing goalkeeper.
Bhandari made the score 5-0 in the 64th firing from distance and settled the victory in the added time cashing in on a mistake from the goalkeeper.
AFP coach Bhagawoti Thapa was full of praise for Waling’s foreign signing and goalkeeper Kishan.
“The African players have made the team very strong. Their goalkeeper is really good. But we need to do what we got to do… to score and to win,” said Thapa, whose side have also recorded a cent per cent clean sheet this season.
Waling coach Dilip Thapa said their next two matches are important.
“No team likes to lose. But we need to accept the fact and move on. Our remaining two fixtures are important. We need to win both in order to finish third,” said Thapa.
Waling are third in the league standings with 14 points after 10 matches. They are level with Police but sit above them due to better head-to-head difference. Waling next play Biratnagar and Chandrapur Municipality.
Earlier, Biratnagar came from a goal down to earn a 2-1 win over Chaudandigadhi Municipality thanks to Parbati Ghale brace.
Manita Tamang gave Chaudandigadhi an early lead when her low shot from outside the box strolled past advancing Biratnagar goalkeeper Kalpani Karki, after Anu Rai connected her through a long pass.
But the bottom side could hold on to the lead for only eight minutes when Ghale volleyed from the penalty area.
Ghale then made sure Biratnagar went home with three points with a flick after Chaudandigadhi goalkeeper Susmita Rai recklessly gave away the ball from her grasp just outside the six-yard box.
The win put Biratnagar back into contention for third place on 13 points, one behind Police.
“Our players fought well today. I am happy we won…especially the second goal that came a few minutes before the final whistle,” said Biratnagar coach Paras Chaudhary.
It was another disappointing day for Chaudandigadhi coach Dipak Thapa, whose side are still searching for a point in the league.
“We were so close to getting our first point. But then, the goalkeeper makes a mistake in the final moments and we lose. It’s worse,” a fuming Thapa said.
Army will take on Chandrapur on Sunday.