Afeez double secures big win for DhangadhiNational captain Kiran Kumar Limbu-led side edge Kathmandu Rayzrs 3-0 to pull off their first win after the second match in the Nepal Super League.
Nigerian striker Oladipo Olawale Afeez struck twice in the first half as Dhangadhi FC registered a thumping 3-0 victory over Kathmandu Rayzrs in the Nepal Super League match at the Dasharath Stadium in Tripureshwor on Tuesday.
Dhangadhi intensified attacks from the beginning and were paid off with a 3-0 lead by interval. But they played with a man-down after the mid second half and came under pressure. However, the national captain Kiran Kumar Limbu-led side managed to keep a clean sheet.
The first victory of the campaign earned Dhangadhi three points after the second match.They were defeated 3-0 by Biratnagar in their opening match. Kathmandu, who had edged Lalitpur City FC 1-0 in their first match, were lacklustre and could not manage remarkable attacks on goal. They have three points from two matches.
"We have focused on earning full points and scoring goals as we have failed to score in our first match. But we amended the errors of first match," said Dhangadhi coach Yugal Kishor Rai, adding that his team would fight for the title. "We have a balanced team in all departments including midfield, defence and forward in addition to a good combination of technical staff and management."
Dhangadhi created a chance in the very first minute only for forward Darshan Gurung to end up applying a feeble shot and off the target. In the 11th, Dhangadhi captain and custodian Bikesh Kuthu again denied Gurung in a one-on-one situation.
Dhangadhi finally broke the deadlock in the 19th as winger Tanka Basnet's stunning strike from the right flank entered the net after hitting upright, leaving goalie Kuthu motionless. They doubled the advantage four minutes later with a brilliant dribbling from Nigerian forward Afeez who rounded up two defenders inside the area and slotted past goalie Kuthu.
Dhangadhi came closer to scoring third in the 34th but Afeez was denied by goalie Kuthu in a one-versus-one situation. Kathmandu thought they had scored in the first minute of the five minute stoppage time through Cameroonian Stephen Binong but it was ruled as offside.
Olawale made it 3-0 for Dhangadhi in the fading moments of the first half injury time as the Nigerian forward made an easy tapping from the close range to convert Gurung's cross.
Kathmandu threatened Dhangadhi in the 54th minute, forcing goalie and captain Kiran Kumar Limbu for a long stretch dive to deny a quick semi-volley by Sanjok Rai. A minute earlier, Dhangadhi's Cameroonian forward Stephen Binong shot wide from the crowded zone after being fed by Tshiring Gurung.
Dhangadhi were limited to 10-man after defender Ramesh Dangal was shown a second yellow in the 68th minute for a bookable offence to Bishwas Udas. After playing with a man-down, Kathmandu piled consistent pressure and played at the Dhangadhi half for most of the time. They, however, failed to create clear scoring chances and convert dominance into goal.
Kathmandu and former national team coach Bal Gopal Maharjan said that his side looked sluggish in every department in the first half. "Though there were some improvements in the second half, it was a tough task to overturn a 3-0 deficit. The players lacked the fighting spirit and patience needed at this level," said Maharjan, adding that his side need to be motivated and come up with an improved show in upcoming games.
Dhangadhi midfielder Pujan Uperkoti was named promising player of the match and striker Afeez was declared super player of the match. Uperkoti won the purse of Rs10,000 and Afeez Rs25,000.
There will be two matches on Wednesday with FC Chitwan taking on Butwal Lumbini FC in the early kick-off before Biratnagar City FC vie with Pokhara Thunders in the late fixture under the floodlights.