Sankata outplay B’desh club, set date with MMC

Pokhara, January 24

CMG Club Sankata defeated Bangladesh’s Narayangunj Football Club 2-0 to enter the semi-finals of the 15th Aaha-Rara Gold Cup here at the Pokhara Stadium today.

Second half goals from Nirajan Khadka and Bishwas Shrestha guided Sankata to the last four where they will face defending champions Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club on Thursday. Khadka put Sankata ahead in the 53rd minute after Koara Larba set up a header on Bishwash Shrestha’s corner kick.

At a time when the match was heading towards the end, Shrestha doubled the tally in the injury time with a goal from the danger zone. Sankata’s Afeez Olawale was named the man-of-the-match and earned Rs 3,000 sponsored by Sahara Hong Kong, sister wing of Sahara Club of Pokhara.

Narayangunj, who landed in Pokhara hours before the match as they were included in the tournament as a replacement of fellow Bangladeshi team Farashgunj Sporting Club, created goals scoring chances but failed to find the back of the nets. Mohammed Rony, who hit top bar in the first half, was denied by Sankata goalie Binay Shrestha in the 66th minute.

Sankata coach Salyan Khadgi said his side struggled hard to win the match against Narayangunj, who had four Bangladeshi national players. “We played an average game in the first half and were able to score in the latter half. We had to fight hard as the opponents were equally strong and studded with a couple of national players,” said Khadgi.

Narayangunj official Saiful said the players failed to play as per their potential due to hectic travel. “Losing first choice goalkeeper Md Rajiv in the first half due to injury cost us dear. We also did not get adequate rest before the match as we arrived here only last night,” said Saiful.

In the first semi-final match on Wednesday, hosts Sahara Club of Pokhara will face Tribhuvan Army Club.