Pokhara, February 21
Nepal APF Club defeated hosts Sahara Club in sudden death to win the opening match of the 17th Aaha Rara Gold Cup Football Tournament at the Pokhara Stadium grounds today.
The match was decided in sudden death after both the teams converted four kicks in the penalty shootout.
Earlier, Sahara and APF played a 1-1 draw in the regulation period of 90 minutes and no team could score in the 30-minute of extra time.
Buddhiman Rai scored the winning goal in the first attempt of sudden death after APF’s substitute goalkeeper Roman Rasaili saved the shot from Sahara’s Anjan Devkota. Rai was named the man of the match.
In tie-breaker, Saheed Anifowose, Padam Bhattarai, Anil Gurung and Bishnu Gurung scored from the spot for the home team, while skipper Sushil Lama wasted his shot. For APF, Sudeep Shikhrakar, Santosh Katuwal, Bikki Lama and Ashish Lama scored from spot, while goalkeeper Roman Rasaili’s shot was blocked by his Sahara counterpart Lucky Kumar Karki.
Earlier, Sahara took the lead in the 17th minute after Binod Gurung dodged as many as two defenders before slotting home into the first bar from the edge of the penalty box. The home side’s joy did not last long as APF found the equaliser a minute later.
Fed by Ramesh Dangal from the centre, Ashish Lama chipped the ball over advancing Sahara goalkeeper Lucky Karki.
Both the teams created a couple of scoring chances in the second half but no one could score. Binod Gurung of Sahara came close to scoring in the 62nd minute but he ended up with a wide shot from the penalty box after beating defenders. Laxman Ruchal’s free kick was cleared by APF defender Ramesh Dangal in the 87th minute. Sudip Shikhrakar of APF wasted a free kick in the dying moments of the match.
A total of 10 teams are taking part in the tournament organised by Sahara Club under the sponsorship of Himshree Foods Pvt Ltd. Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari inaugurated the tournament.
Top two teams will receive Rs 801,000 and Rs 401,000 respectively, while the best player of the tournament will get Aprila scooter. Likewise, the highest scorer will earn Rs 25,000, while the best striker, midfielder, defender, goalkeeper and coach will get Rs 15,000 each.
Meanwhile, the organisers felicitated national team goalkeeper with the Best Footballer Award at opening ceremony. Minister Adhikari handed over Rs 35,000 to Chemjong. The amount was sponsored by former Kaski District Football Association President Khem Bahadur Gurung.
On Friday, Himalayan Sherpa will take on Dharan Football Club.
A version of this article appears in print on February 22, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.