Ashfaq scored twice against Maalhos to close gap on top

Ali Ashfaq scored a brace as New Radiant clinched a comfortable 3-0 win over Maalhos in the ongoing Ooredoo Dhivehi Premier League.

The win sees New Radiant climb to second place in the league standings level on 9 points with Club Green Streets but they are ahead on superior goal difference, one behind leaders Maziya and two ahead of TC Sports Club on fourth spot.

Meanwhile, Maalhos dropped to seventh spot, as they are level on two points with Milandhoo on sixth place.

The Blues made only one change from their last game as they brought in Stevan Markovic in place of the suspended Akram Abdul Ghani.

The Blues dominated the opening 10 minutes and they had the first attempt at goal in the eighth minute, but Ashfaq dragged his attempt wide before Ibrahim Fazeel quickly followed him as he fired his shot straight at Maalhos keeper Ibrahim Zameer moments later.

Stevan Markovic then headed wide from Ali Fasir’s free-kick from outside the box in the 11th minute before Ashfaq had another chance five minutes later, but his effort from inside the box lacked real power necessary to beat the keeper Zameer.

It took the Blues 28 minutes to finally break the deadlock, after excellent defending from Maalhos. Ahmed Abdulla delivered a decent cross for Ashfaq to head in the opening goal from inside the box before Fasir doubled their lead a minute later with a decent strike from inside the box.

Moments later, in the 32nd minute, Rilwan Waheed missed a decent chance to extend the lead for the Blues as he failed to connect with the ball from Candela.

Within the next two minutes, the Blues had another chance for Midhuhath, but he fired over the bar after receiving a decent pass from Gallardo before Ashfaq threatened to score again in the 38th minute when he fired narrowly wide of the right post.

Ashfaq also had the first chance of the second half with four minutes into the clock, but he missed the target again, while Gallardo had a glorious chance to add his name to the score sheet but he failed to connect with Fasir’s cross as the keeper Zameer blocked the ball.

A rare opportunity for Maalhos in the 57th minute saw Ali Waseem fired his shot straight at New Radiant keeper Mohamed Faisal.

The Blues added their third in the 62nd minute, when Ahmed Abdulla delivered yet another terrific cross onto Maalhos penalty area in which the opposition defenders completely misread it as the poor clearance fell to an unmarked Ashfaq who made no mistake with a finish from inside the box.

Two minutes later, Ali Hafiz delivered a dangerous cross onto the Blues penalty area but Angel Munoz failed to connect with the ball.

Then, Gallardo wasted two good chances to extend the lead for the Blues as he headed over the bar from inside the box on 67 minutes before he failed to make clear contact with Fasir’s cross down the left flank six minutes later.

With 13 minutes from time, Hamza almost setup Ashfaq for the fourth goal but Maalhos keeper Zameer ran out of his penalty area to made a clearance just in time.

Two minutes later, Hamza had an attempt of his own as he headed over the bar after receiving another decent cross from Ahmed Abdulla.

And there were more chances for the Blues but Gallardo fired wide from inside the box, while Hamza dragged his shot over the bar from outside the box with three minutes from time.

The final chance of the game would fall to Maalhos in stoppage-time, although Angel Munoz missed the target from inside the box.

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