Thakuri double guides hosts to first finalThe striker scores two early goals as Sudurpaschim XI beat APF 2-1 in the first semi-final.
In the second half, Sudurpaschim continued to pile pressure on the visitor’s side.
The APF side could have taken lead early in the match when striker Shyam Nepali missed the target by inches from a close range.
Sudurpaschim backed by roaring home crowd started with the attacking intent and went ahead in the eighth minute. Thakuri placed the ball at the back of the net capitalising on skipper Gajendra Shahi’s assist from the area.
Thakuri doubled the advantage three minutes later. It was his fourth goal of the tournament. He had scored two goals during their 4-2 quarter-final win over visiting Kanchanjunga FC of India on Tuesday.
"We have resorted to offensive approach from the start and that paid off," Sudurpaschim coach Rohit Kumar Chaudhary said after the match. "Thakuri fulfiled his duty but he could have scored more."
APF settled for a lone first-half goal from Lama, who dribbled past two defenders before taking the shot that travelled past the reach of Sudurpaschim goalie Sujit BC.
Buoyed by the goal, APF piled pressure in the remaining period of the first half. However, they were unable to break the home team’s stubborn defence line.
The visitors could not carry their momentum to the second half.
Sudurpaschim, meanwhile, stepped up their game and continued to cause trouble to the APF defence line. Shahi came close to scoring what could have been the third goal for the home side at the early minutes of the second half, but he squandered the chance created by Binod KC.
He also failed to convert two more one-on-one chances against APF goalie Raju Nagarkoti in the stoppage time.
APF coach Sudip Shrestha said conceding early goals was a setback to his side.
"The players’ morale went down after conceding two early goals. We also failed to convert a few scoring opportunities," said Shrestha.
Sudurpaschim will be playing their first-ever final match of the tournament on Tuesday against the winning team of the Sunday’s match between Three Star Club and Himalayan Sherpa Club.