Army beat Nepal APF in Khaptad Gold Cup final

DHANGADI: Tribhuvan Army Club defeated Nepal APF Club 5-4 on penalties in the final of the second Nepal Ice Farwest Khaptad Gold Cup Football Tournament here at the Dhangadhi Stadium today.

The match was decided in tie breaker after both the teams failed to score in the regulation period of 90 minutes. With the victory, TAC claimed fourth title of the season. They had won Satakshi Gold Cup in Jhapa, Mechi Netralaya Kakarvitta Gold Cup and Bishal Memorial Tournament in Birgunj. Champions TAC received Rs 1.11 million, while APF earned Rs 555,555.

Nawayug Shrestha, Santosh Tamang, Deep Lama, Deepak Gurung and Bibek Basnet converted from the spot for the TAC. Anjan Bista, Nabin Lama, Pasang Lama and Ranjan Bista scored for APF, while Sudip Shikhrakar hit the post.

TAC coach Nabin Neupane lauded his players’ hard works. “The credit goes to the players who put in their best in the tournament,” said Neupane, a former national team player. “We had a plan of winning the match in regulation period but we failed to convert the opportunities that came our way,” he added.

TAC skipper Bharat Khawas thanked the team members for winning the trophy. “It was a team effort and all the players and team members put in their best on the way to winning the title,” said Khawas, whose team bagged the fourth title of the season. “We will try our best to win other titles as well,” he added.

APF coach Ratna Kaji Maharjan blamed the hectic schedule for the loss. “The match between the two departmental sides was a competitive one and my boys put in their best despite playing their second match within 24 hours,” said Maharjan. “I am satisfied with the players’ overall performance.”

Earlier, George Prince Karki of TAC came close to scoring in the 31st minute but his brilliant freekick in the 31st minute was saved by APF goalkeeper Amrit Chaudhary. Karki was denied again by Chaudhary when the custodian blocked TAC striker’s powerful strike from the edge of the box six minutes later.

In an one-sided affair, Nawayug Shrestha missed three chances in the second half. The national team striker muffed up an opportunity in the 59th minute before wasting a sitter from close range in the 81st minute. APF custodian Chaudhary made a brilliant save to deny Shrestha in the injury time of the match.

Bharat Khawas of TAC was adjudged the best player of the tournament and he received a Yamaha motorbike, while his teammate Nawayug Shrestha was named the man of the match.

TAC’s Bikesh Kuthu and Santosh Shrestha received the best goalkeeper and midfielder awards respectively, while Nabin Neupane of TAC was named the best coach. Likewise, APF duo Anjan Bista and Top Bista were declared the best striker and defender respectively, while Amanat Singh of Farest-XI was named the rising player. All the best individuals received Rs 15,000 each.