Lalitpur sack coach after winless run in leagueCoach Pradeep Humagain-led side settled for a 0-0 draw against Pokhara Thunders and have not won a single match in the Nepal Super League.
Lalitpur City FC sacked their coach Pradeep Humagain after the team’s wait for the first victory continued to the fourth match as they settled for a 0-0 draw against Pokhara Thunders in the Nepal Super League football tournament at the Dasharath Stadium on Sunday.
Yet to taste their first victory of the campaign, Lalitpur led by coach Humagain and captained by national team forward Anjan Bista have come under pressure for a top four finish in the seven-team tournament as the event offers playoff berths to only four best sides.
With only two matches left before the league stage wraps up, Lalitpur have just three points after draws in the last three matches and are second from bottom in the seven-team contest. They lost the opener 1-0 against Kathmandu Rayzrs. They have so far scored two goals.
“The management decided to sack head coach Humagain after the team failed to get the results [win],” said Kalyan Gurung, one of the owners of the team belonging to Bhat-Bhateni Super Market. “Assistant coach Raju Tamang will take charge of the team for the remaining matches.”
“It is a disappointment that we failed to win and I take responsibility for the outcomes,” said Humagain at the post-match conference. He becomes the first coach to be sacked in the first ever franchise football league in the country.
“It was evident that we failed in the finishing department. Although we are performing well, we have been unable to get on the scoresheet…... But it is not that we could make drastic improvements in the finish line-up the very next day,” said Humagain who later wrote on Facebook that he had resigned as the coach.
Lalitpur skipper Bista, who missed as many as two superb chances, said that he was not satisfied with his own performance. “I am not happy with the outcome and my own weaknesses in finishing,” he said. “We have to improve a lot in attacking third. We still have two matches left. Let's hope for the best.”
Pokhara, meanwhile, are level on five points with second placed Butwal Lumbini FC with the latter having a match advantage over them. They have scored just one goal after the fourth match.
The evenly contested affair saw both sides create some scoring opportunities but faltered again in the finishing line-up.
In the eighth minute, Pokhara forward and captain Nawayug Shrestha’s close range strike in Ayush Ghalan pass at a counter move missed the target by a whisker. In the 15th Cameroonian forward Moussa Abba’s quick strike from the area was caught by Lalitpur custodian Arpan Karki.
Moments later, Lalitur’s Croatian forward Vilim Posinkovic was denied by Pokhara defender Ketcha Yannick to fire at the post despite a brilliant pass by captain Anjan Bista. In the 20th minute Pokhara captain Shrestha again squandered a golden scoring opportunity when he shot above the bar from the area despite beating goalie Karki in a perfect pass of Dipak Gurung. One minute before the break, Shrestha again ended up shooting off the target in winger Rabi Paswan pass.
Lalitpur thought that they broke the deadlock six minutes into the second half when captain Bista beat Pokhara goalie Deep Karki one-on-one at close range in a through pass of Azerbaijan forward Nurlan Novruzov Zahid. As the ball was rolling towards the net Ajit Bhandari sprinted to defend it just ahead from the goalline.
In the 82nd, Pokhara’s Ayush Ghalan ended up tapping off the target following tight marking from defender Kamal Shrestha after he was set by Sujit Budathoki. In the 85th Lalitpur skipper Bista failed to utilise the scoring opportunity as he shot straight at goalie Deep Karki’s hand with only the shot stopper in his way from close range.
Pokhara assistant coach Rajesh Shahi said that his side failed to perform to their potential in the second half due to injury and fatigue. “Though we missed dearly in the finishing department, we still have opportunities for a top-four finish. We will try to improve in upcoming fixtures,” said Shahi.
Ayush Ghalan of Pokhara was named emerging player and Pravesh Kunwar of Lalitpur was declared super player. Ghalan got Rs10,000 and Kunwar Rs25,000.
FC Chitwan will vie against Biratnagar City FC on Monday.
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Butwal Lumbini 3120645