Army edge hosts to claim Jhapa Gold CupThe departmental team beat Jhapa XI 2-1 to lift their fourth and third successive title.
Hosts Jhapa XI failed to fulfil their ambition of winning the Jhapa Gold Cup for the first time after they succumbed to a 2-1 defeat against Tribhuvan Army FC who claimed the trophy for the third time in a row at the Domalal Stadium in Birtabazar on Monday.
Early goals by midfielder Tek Bahadur Budathoki and captain George Prince Karki became sufficient for the departmental side to claim the trophy for the fourth time out of five editions possible so far.
For the home team, who pulled one back through Nepali international Bimal Gharti Magar, it was another frustrating final as they lost the final of the tournament for the fifth time in a row. Though the home team have made it to the final on all editions of the tournament, they have lost four times against Army and once against Manang Marshyangdi Club in 2017.
Winners Army bagged a purse of Rs1.255 million along with the winners' trophy while the runners up Jhapa got Rs605,000.
Budathoki broke the deadlock in the 18th minute as he made a clean finish with a one-touch strike from the box to convert defender Suman Aryal's cross, silencing jam-packed home supporters. The departmental side doubled their advantage three minutes later capitalising on an unforgivable error by goalie Deep Karki.
The custodian made a poor judgement and rushed forward to collect a ball released by his opposite number Bikesh Kuthu of Army as the ball bounded inside the area and sailed over him providing an easy opportunity for forward Karki to tap it at the open net.
Hungry for success, Jhapa cut the deficit in the 24th through Gharti Magar. The forward, left unmarked, headed Ulrich Siwe's cross just ahead of the goalline.
Though Jhapa dominated the remaining period, controlled ball possession and created some chances, they failed to capitalise on scoring opportunities and their quest for lifting their maiden trophy at home remained unfulfilled.
Jhapa defender Devendra Tamang was declared the best player and was awarded a two-wheeler. Army's Bikesh Kuthu was adjudged the best goalkeeper and Nabin Neupane of the departmental team was awarded with best coach award. Jhapa's Manoj Rai was declared best defence and Andreas Nia best midfielder. All of them received Rs21,000 each. Jhapa forward Gharti Magar won the highest scorer award for his five goals in the tournament and won Rs25,000.
Meanwhile, Jhapa's midfielder Bishal Rai 'A' was honoured with a lifetime achievement award before the kickoff. Rai, who featured as a player for the last time in the final, was given a motorbike.
The knockout tournament featured 10 teams in total.