MMC close in on third titleManang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) edged defending champions Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club 3-2 to enter the final of the 18th International Invitational Budha Subba Gold Cup on Wednesday.
Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) edged defending champions Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club 3-2 to enter the final of the 18th International Invitational Budha Subba Gold Cup on Wednesday.
In a see-saw battle at the Anfa Technical Centre, Oladipo Olawale Afeez, Anil Gurung and Ananta Tamang scored for MMC who are now close to winning their third title in a month. MMC had recently won Aaha-Rara Gold Cup in Pokhara and Suman Bhomjan Memorial Gold Cup in Hetauda. Ramesh Dangal and Anjan Bista struck for the defending champions.
Afeez put MMC ahead in the first minute when he scored on a corner from Hem Gurung after APF goalkeeper Amrit Chaudhary was initially beaten. The lead, however, lasted just six minutes with APF hitting back in the seventh. Dangal scored from the area finding a freekick from Sudeep Shikhakar.
The equaliser upped the tempo of the game and it was APF who snatched the lead this time through Bista in the 13th minute. The national team playmaker made a superb run from the midfield and slammed home on one-versus-one encounter with the APF custodian.
MMC equalised in the 26th with skipper Gurung heading home a cross from Sujal Shrestha. The provider had a golden opportunity to put his side ahead in the first half after MMC earned a spot kick. Saroj Koirala tripped Afeez inside the danger zone in the 43rd minute and Shrestha stepped in to take the shot but the midfielder hit the woodwork.
MMC, however, managed to regain the lead in the 61st minute with Tamang scoring on a freekick from Bishal Rai. In the 70th minute, Shikhakar’s powerful freekick was blocked by Kiran Chemjong. MMC will now take on the winner of Thursday’s semi-final match between Nepal Police Club and Rupandehi XI in the final.
Despite the victory, MMC coach Tshering Lopsang Gurung said his boys had not given 100 percent in the game. “We were not able to score in the penalty and wasted several other scoring chances. We were not what we used to be,” said Gurung.
APF coach Janak Singh blamed his defenders for the defeat. “Our defenders failed to properly mark players, who could kill the game. Wasting scoring chances also didn’t help,” said Singh.