Lama double secures first win for APFGoals from the striker gives the departmental side a 3-1 win over Friends in the battle between bottom two teams.
Aashish Lama struck twice for APF Football Club as they registered the first victory in the fifth match inflicting Friends Club a 3-1 defeat in the Martyrs Memorial 'A' Division League at the Dasharath Stadium on Monday.
Bikey Lama put APF ahead before Lama netted at both ends in the clash between the bottom two sides of the league. Prezen Tamang hit the consolation for Friends.
Yet to win a single game, both the sides came into the match with a must-win pressure and APF started with Japanese goalie Yuya Kuriyama becoming the first ever departmental team to recruit a foreign national.
The win lifted APF to 11th position, level on four points with Chyasal Youth Club and Jawalakhel Youth Club. Friends with two points after three defeats and two draws dropped one spot below to rock bottom. The teams finishing at the bottom two positions at the completion of the league will be dropped to second division.
Friends piled early pressure on the match and created a scoring chance as early as in the fifth minute but custodian Kuriyama came to the rescue of the departmental team, denying Trinidadian midfielder Nathaniel Garcia in a one-on-one situation. The midfielder’s goal in the mid first half was also ruled as offside.
But it was APF who took the lead at the half an hour mark through Tamang, who scored his second goal of the league. The midfielder unleashed a scorcher from the arch of the area in Nabin Lama's pass to send the ball at the back of the net after rattling on the inner bar.
They doubled the advantage two minutes later through Lama who made a neat finish, beating Friends Indian goalie Rahul Ramchandra Yadav with a well placed low ball strike from the area. He was also set by Nabin Lama.
Lama, the highest scorer of the last season with nine goals, made it 3-0 for APF with his second goal of the match and third of the league campaign in the 56th minute. The forward beat goalie Yadav with a low ball strike in a pinpoint pass of Awash Lamichhane.
Prezen Tamang reduced the deficit for Friends in the 69th with a spot kick awarded after APF defender Dipesh Dhimal brought down midfielder Garcia inside the crowded zone.
The departmental team came closer to restoring their three-goal lead two minutes later but Lama failed to beat glovesman Yadav in a one-on-one situation. They missed yet another scoring opportunity in the fading moment as forward Yubraaj Khadka missed to tap a low freekick by Nabin Lama just ahead of the goalline.
Friends coach Mrigendra Mishra lamented failing to win a must-win game.
“It was a must-win encounter for us. We played better for the first 25 minutes but after conceding two quick goals, it seemed the boys forgot to play football,” said Mishra, adding that they were under pressure to save the team from relegation.
"But analysing the table, one came up with victory in one or two matches. We are yet to play matches and we need to motivate these players."
His APF counterpart Kumar Thapa was delighted with first victory of the league campaign. "We now have four points and Aashish could have scored a hat-trick," said Thapa, adding that they recruited a goalie due to the absence of a quality keeper in the squad. "Goalkeeping is a special position and we could have made adjustments if it was not goalkeeping. They boys are gradually learning to adjust to pressure."
The sixth round of the league will begin on Friday with leaders Manang Marshyangdi Club taking on Machhindra Club in one of the match watering clashes.