Machhindra rally against Gorkha Boys to enter semi-final in JhiljhileCameroon’s Andre Nia and Bimal Gharti Magar score in Machhindra’s 2-1 win.
New league champions Machhindra Club rallied from a goal down to beat Gorkha Boys of Rupandehi 2-1 and enter the Satashi Gold Cup football tournament semi-finals in Jhiljhile, Jhapa on Wednesday.
Cameroonian Andre Nia and Nepali international Bimal Gharti Magar scored for Machhindra after Kazeem Basuri had put Gorkha Boys ahead in the 16th minute.
Nigerian forward Basuri made a spectacular finish after being squared by compatriot Issac Olakaji who collected Shakti Rai's pass from the centre. Gorkha Boys put up a well coordinated show in the lead-up to taking the lead, but lost rhythm once they conceded the equaliser. They threatened again in the 24th minute but Olakaji fired above the bar from the edge of the area.
Nia brought Machhindra on level terms in the 25th minute, capitalising on a Ranjit Dhimal corner. Machhindra went ahead in the 32nd minute through penalty, when Gorkha Boys defender Saroj Yonjan’s hand brushed against the ball inside the area in a bid to stop Dhimal's strike from the right flank. Gharti Magar converted the resulting penalty to put Machhindra into the last four.
In the 40th minute, Gorkha Boys' Kazim failed to put enough power on his shot and four minutes later, Olakaji lifted his shot above the bar.
Gorkha Boys continued to press hard early on after the restart. Four minutes into the half, Niraj Basnet missed a header attempt from Olakaji's cross.
Machhindra came closer to scoring in the 55th minute through Nigerian Adelaja Somide, when Somide headed Dhimal's corner, forcing goalie, Sojit Gurung to a long stretch diving save. Machhindra survived a scare in the 72nd minute after Uttam Gurung's freekick smashed onto the crossbar.
Gorkha Boys custodian, Gurung, was again called into action in the 78th minute when he parried Dipak Gurung's scorcher, which reached Gharti Magar. The forward, ended up firing above the bar. He was named the man-of-the-match and won a purse of Rs10,000.
The semi-final action will begin on Thursday. The 'A' Division outfits, Three Star will take on hosts Satashi Dham Sporting Club, on Thursday, for their entry into the final. Machhindra will meet Tribhuvan Army Club in the tournament’s second semi-final, on Friday.