BIRATNAGAR, APRIL 12
Nepal APF Club stunned defending champions Nepal Police Club 2-0 and advanced to the semi-finals of the sixth Birat Gold Cup at the Martyrs Stadium today.
Mani Lama and Suman Lama scored one each for APF in the second half to send their departmental rivals send packing from their first match of the tournament.
After a goalless first half, Mani Lama opened the scoring in the 46th minute after he slotted home snatching the ball from NPC defense line which failed to make timely clearance. Mani Lama was named the man of the match and he earned Rs 10,000.
Suman Lama sealed the victory for APF in the injury time of the match on his own and into the open nets at a time when NPC goalkeeper Roshan Khadka had come out of his proper position to save the ball.
APF will now face hosts Biratnagar-XI, who had made it to the last four with wins over Sikkim United and West Bengal teams in the first two rounds.
Both the teams created a couple of opportunities in the first half but they were not able to find the back of the nets.
Mani Lama came close to opening the scoring for APF in the 19th minute but he shot wide from the box, while Suman Lama's shot sailed over the bar in the 39th minute.
NPC showed different character in the second half and they dominated the show. But the forwards let the team down after they muffed up at least half a dozen scoring chances, thanks to the brilliance of APF goalkeeper Raju Nagarkoti. Ravi Paswan thought he levelled the scores in the 71st minute but Nagarkoti denied him with a brilliant save, while the APF custodian stopped a superb shot from Anjan Rai in the 78th minute.
APF coach Sudip Shrestha praised his boys efforts in beating a strong side like NPC. "The players deserve full credit as they put up a brilliant show," he said. NPC coach Ananta Raj Thapa criticised his defenders. "We faced the defeat due to the weakness of our defense line," he said.
On Tuesday, Sankata Club will face African Roots Association in the rematch of the 19th Aaha-Rara Gold Cup final.
Sankata had defeated ARA 4-2 on penalties to win the maiden title in Pokhara on Saturday.
A version of this article appears in the print on April 13, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.