SIMARA: Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club rallied from a goal down to beat departmental rivals Nepal Police Club 2-1 to claim the 14th Ncell National Women’s Football Tournament today.
In a thrilling encounter watched by more than 10,000 spectators at the Simara grounds, skipper Chandra Bhandari stunned mighty APF with an early 17th minute goal. Chandra’s opposite number Jamuna Gurung brought APF level five minutes before the break. Anu Lama then struck in the 75th minute to hand APF their fifth consecutive title.
NPC could have avenged their 1-0 loss against APF in last edition’s final in Nawalparasi but despite going neck-to-neck and some fine works from midfielder Niru Thapa they pegged back.
After both teams took time to settle down with exchange of some good passes, Chandra gave NPC a dream start in a move initiated by Niru. The playmaker took the ball from midfield and exchanged passes with Yashoda Lama before setting it for skipper Chandra, who slotted home past APF keeper Chandra Devi Dahal.
Two minutes later Yashoda tested nervy APF keeper at the goal on a free kick. Frustrated by man-to-man marking, Anu managed to get inside the NPC area in the 22nd minute, but the APF forward shot it straight to goalkeeper Namita Dali.
APF’s first real chance came in the 34th minute when Anu set for Jamuna inside the NPC area but Jamuna’s clumsy work saw two Police defenders dispossess her. APF finally equalised with two of their front liners involved in the goal. Anu chipped over advancing NPC custodian Namita and Jamuna made no mistake in heading the ball home.
Namita denied Shova Kushwaha in one-on-one encounter in the 73rd but two minutes later Anu assured APF will walk away with their fifth title. Fed by Sajana Rana, Anu made a cool finish. Anu was adjudged the best player of the tournament and received Yamaha scooter.
APF skipper Jamuna credited her department for the achievement. “NPC gave us a tough challenge but I knew we had the spirit to fight back.”
APF received Rs 300,000, while NPC got Rs 150,000. The losing semi-finalists Kailali and Tribhuvan Army Club bagged Rs 25,000 each. The best individuals — forward Chandra Bhandari (NPC), midfielder Sajana Rana (APF), defender Bhagwati Thapa (APF), goalkeeper Chandra Devi Dahal (APF), coach Milan Rai (APF) — received Rs 25,000 apiece.
National Sports Council Member Secretary Yubaraj Lama, ANFA President Ganesh Thapa among others gave away the prizes.