APF quell NRT’s challenge to enter Dhangadhi quartersRamesh Dangal and Biku Tamang led the departmental team's fightback for a 2-1 victory.
Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) staged a second-half fightback for a 2-1 win over New Road Team (NRT) to enter the quarter-finals of the Sudurpaschim Khaptad Gold Cup football tournament in Dhangadhi on Saturday.
Darshan Gurung had given a lead to NRT in the 39th minute before Ramesh Dangal equalised for APF at the one hour-mark. Substitute Biku Tamang scored the winning goal for the divisional team, five minutes later.
APF, which narrowly avoided relegation from the recently concluded top-tier league, tested NRT custodian Ajit Prajapati in the very first minute. But the custodian blocked defender Ramesh Dangal's header.
NRT, who had finished eighth among 14 teams in the league, replied through Darshan Gurung in the 11th minute, calling APF goalie, Raju Nagarkoti into action after being put through by Cameroonian Yanick Owone.
Two minutes later, NRT had a chance for a lead but APF’s keeper Nagarkoti denied Prakash Budathoki.
In the 33rd minute, APF thought forward Asish Lama had gotten ahead after beating goalie, Prajapati. But, the ball stuck exactly at the goal line as the six-yard distance had turned muddy due to an overnight rain.
APF threatened yet again in the 35th with a counter-attack but NRT custodian Prajapati sprinted out of the area to clear the ball. But it was NRT who broke the deadlock in the 39th minute after Gurung converted skipper Budathoki's pass from the area.
Defender Dangal led the departmental team's fightback with an equaliser at the stroke of an hour. Dangal, who was unmarked inside the area, headed in a Sudip Shikhrakar's freekick. The departmental team added another in the 65th minute, with Tamang capitalising on a misunderstanding between NRT defenders.
Defender Dangal was adjudged the man of the match and collected a cash prize of Rs10,000. Nawa Jana Jagriti Club of Simara will take on Madan Bhandari Sports Club, on Sunday.
The tournament, featuring 12 teams from Nepal and India, carries a purse of Rs2.1 million for the winners, and Rs1 million for the runners-up.
The player of the tournament will be awarded a two-wheeler.