APF advance to Pokhara Cup final
Pokhara, February 8
Nepal APF Club advanced to the final of the sixth Manakamana Cable Car Pokhara Cup Football Tournament here at the Pokhara Stadium today.
The departmental side defeated Rissho University 4-1 on penalties to make it to the maiden final in Pokhara. The match was decided in tie-breaker after both the teams failed to score in regulation and extra time.
Sudip Shikhrakar, Ashish Lama, Rajiv Lopchan and goalkeeper Raju Nagarkoti converted their shots from the spot for APF, while only Takuya Hitomi was able to score for the Japanese team. APF custodian Nagarkoti denied Natsuki Takeda, while Takuto Yoshino ended up with a wayward shot over the cross bar.
Earlier, the Japanese side dominated the match and created ample scoring opportunities but APF glovesman Nagarkoti stood firm at goal. Nagarkoti saved his team from going down when he punched out Ryoji Fujimori’s shot in the 13th minute following a pass from Keisuke Omuro.
Nagarkoti was forced to action twice in the 54th minute. The departmental side goalkeeper saved Keisuke Omuro’s shot in rebound after blocking the initial attempt from Rissho University skipper Takuya Hitomi. Nagarkoti then punched out powerful strike from Ryoji Fujimori in the 73rd minute.
Takuya Hitomi came close to scoring in the 85th minute but Nagarkoti again saved his shot and Ryota Umehara’s header in rebound went over the bar. Two minutes later, Umehara ended up with a wide shot, while his he struck against the cross bar in the extra time. Nagarkoti was named the man of the match.
On Saturday, Signature Manang Marshyangdi Club will take on Dauphins Family Club of Cameroon in the second semi-final match of the tournament, which is organised by Kaski District Football Association under the sponsorship of Manakamana Darshan Pvt Ltd.