Khaptad Gold Cup: Army stun holders MMC to reach finalTribhuvan Army Club fought back from a goal deficit to send reigning champions Manang Marshyangdi Club packing with a 3-1 victory in the first semi-final of Khaptad Gold Cup on Saturday.
Tribhuvan Army Club fought back from a goal deficit to send reigning champions Manang Marshyangdi Club packing with a 3-1 victory in the first semi-final of Khaptad Gold Cup on Saturday.
Star forwards Bharat Khawas, Nawayug Shrestha and Santosh Tamang netted for the departmental giants who conceded an early eighth minute goal with Heman Gurung putting MMC ahead. Army will now take on the winners of Sunday’s second semi-final match between hosts Far-west XI and Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club on Sunday. The final is scheduled for Tuesday.
Manang, who played a day after a 4-0 rout of Rupandehi XI on Friday, blamed a tiring schedule for their defeat. Coach Chhiring Lopsang Gurung said his side failed to play to potential as they were forced to play two matches inside 24 hours. “We came here to play after a long travel but the organisers failed to make proper schedule for us,” said Lopsang. “It is really difficult to play two days in a row. Army are physically tough and quick. To beat them we need to have our energy restored,” said the coach.
Hosts Far-west, who beat Chyasal Youth Club in the quarter-final on January 5, are scheduled to play against APF on Sunday.
Just after Anil Gurung’s header failed to find the target, Heman managed to put Manang. After set up by Bimal Rana, Heman fired into the nets with the ball getting a slight deflection off a TAC defender. Army skipper Khawas restored parity in the 23rd minute from a crowded zone, capitalising on a corner.
Manang looked offensive after the break but Army played cautiously and went for counter attacks. Army striker Shrestha netted second at the stroke of half time after he was fed inside the area by Dinesh Henjan.
MMC dearly missed the services injured defender Kamal Shrestha as they didn’t look convincing in the defense line. Tamang extended the lead further to seal the victory in the 88th minute, scoring on a rebound that came off MMC goalie Dinesh Thapa Magar who had initially blocked a shot from Shrestha.