Aditya Chaudhary brilliance seals narrow win over Sankata in Aaha Gold Cup, APF into quarters

POKHARA: The Armed Police Force team defender Aditya Chaudhary scored a sublime free kick to secure a narrow triumph over Santaka and propelled his team into quarter-final of the ongoing 16th Aaha Rara Gold Cup in Pokhara.

Referee Srawan Lama awarded a free kick to APF and showed yellow card to Sankata's foreign recruit Kone after he hauled down Ranjan Bista from behind just outside the 18-yard box.

Defender Aditya Chaudhary then sweetly struck a delightful free-kick over the wall onto underside of the cross bar and nestled into the roof of net in the 28th minute.

Kathmandu based-Sankata created more then half a dozen chances in the first half, however their wayward finishing let them down in the very first match of the competition.

APF Yuvaraj Khadka and Ram Kumar Kumal missed glorious chances to score on one-on-one situation against the Sankata's goalie on the second half of the game.

Sankata poured men forward in search of an equaliser in the second half, however, Saroj Dahal failed to muster any power on header to beat APF custodian in the 75th minute.

Anjan Bista ferocious pile drive was spectacularly saved by Sankata's goalie in the dying minutes of the game keeping his team in the game.

Chaudhary was later adjudged man of the match for his match winning performance.

During the post match press conference, Sankata head coach Salyan Khadgi said poor finishing cost them the match. He also pointed out lack of coordination between players was another reason for their failure to overcome opponent.

Likewise, APF head coach Ratna Kaji Maharjan said players failed to put on a good show after back to back games after competing in Itahari Gold Cup recently. He accepted that finishing is not up to par and much more work is needed to be done to improve better showing in the tournament.

"I am happy with today's win," Maharjan shared.

In other pre-quarterfinal games on Friday, Nepal Police Club will take on Jhapa XI at the Pokhara Stadium.