Rai strikes as Dharan stun APF
Pokhara, January 18
Deepak Rai scored the solitary goal as Dharan Football Club stunned Nepal APF Club 1-0 to advance to the quarter-finals of the 15th Aaha-Rara Gold Cup Football Tournament here at the Pokhara Stadium today.
Rai scored the match-winning goal in the extra time after both the teams failed to break the deadlock in regulation
period. Rai found the back of the net in the 103rd minute utilising Bartaman Rai’s cross from the corner, which was enough for Dharan to eliminate the seventh National Games gold medallists APF from the first round.
Dharan FC custodian Purna Chemjong, who was later named the man-of-the-match, stood firm at his goal to deny APF’s numerous attempts. Dharan will now face Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club for a spot in the semi-finals on Sunday. MMC had a bye in the first round.
Among notable chances created by the APF, Nabin Lama’s free kick hit the crossbar in the 43rd minute before Dharan goalie Chemjong saved Hari Karki’s attempt minutes later.
Dharan coach Subash KC lauded his players for the hard-fought victory against heavyweight APF. “We will put an improved show against MMC in our next match,” he added.
APF coach Kumar Thapa rued the missed chances and lamented his players for not being able to score despite creating goal scoring opportunities. “We played better game in the first half but our performance was not good enough after the interval,” said Thapa.
On Thursday, ANA USA FC will play against RumPum Jhapa-XI.