Thing double guides APF to semi-finalsThe substitute strikes two late goals as the departmental team overturn a goal deficit to defeat visiting BYSC 3-1.
Substitute Rabi Thing netted two late goals as APF FC fought back to inflict a 3-1 defeat over visiting Bhutanese Youth Sports Club (BYSC) of Minnesota, USA, and book semi-final ticket in the 20th Aaha Rara Gold Cup Football Tournament in Pokhara on Saturday.
In the game played behind closed doors owing to the Covid-19 outbreak in the country, Thing struck both the goals within the last 10 minutes before Awash Lamichhane had restored parity from the penalty spot. BYSC had taken the lead in the early second half through Megal Palafox.
The departmental team, struggling to avoid relegation in the ongoing Martyrs Memorial ‘A’ Division League, will meet the winners between Sankata Club and Machhindra Club in the semi-final on Wednesday.
Following a goalless first half, BYSC defender Palafox broke the deadlock two minutes into the restart. Palafox headed to turn a cross by Riley Urie despite APF defender Rajan Gurung’s header to clear the cross inside the area.
Forward Lamichhane, who was also on target in their 2-0 win over hosts Sahara in the curtain raiser, hit back the equaliser in the 70th minute through penalty. The departmental side were arguably awarded the soft spotkick after Chad forward Armand Beadoum stumbled just ahead of the goalline in a fifty-fifty challenge by defender Hector Trigueros. They were chasing to find the ball blocked by goalie Dinesh Thapa Magar who had dived to prevent Pradip Lama’s strike from the edge.
Midfielder Thing, who came as a 58th minute replacement to Bikey Tamang, put APF ahead six minutes from time as the game was seemingly heading into extra time. Thing found a through pass from Lamichhane inside the area and applied a perfect low ball strike to beat goalie Thapa Magar.
Thing sealed the victory in the fourth minute of the five-minute stoppage time after his 25-yard strike entered the back of the net following a bounce at the six-yard box.
Himalayan Sherpa Club will vie against Nepal Police Club in the second quarter-final of the tournament on Sunday.