Gauchan guides MMC into final

Kathmandu, September 18 :

Basanta Gauchan scored a late winner as Manang Marsyangdi Club (MMC) defeated Mahendra Police Club (MPC) 2-1 and entered the final of the first Subarna Shumsher Memorial Knock out Football Tournament here today.

The match was heading towards a 1-1 draw but Gauchan netted the winner two minutes from time on Nabin Neupane’s pass inside the crowded penalty area after the MPC defenders failed to clear the ball.

MPC took a lead through a Jumanu Rai goal in the 11th minute. Rai displayed a brilliant control over the ball and dodged a defender before firing home from just inside the penalty box. Anil Gurung, who joined MMC from Nabil Three Star after the last year’s league, levelled the scores in the 39th when he converted from a tight angle after collecting a pass from Khum Gurung.

Earlier, MMC almost went ahead in the fifth minute when Khum Gurung fired a powerful shot from 20 yards but MPC goalkeeper Ritesh Thapa punched out the ball. In the 23rd minute, MPC was lucky when Khum failed to convert in an unguarded post on Nabin Neupane’s cross.

MMC custodian Sangeet Rajak saved his team twice within the first 10 minutes of the second half. Rajak was at his best denying Ananta’s right-footed shot from 25 yards in the 50th minute, while he acrobatically punched out MPC skipper Hari Khadka’s free kick five minutes later.

Happy to be in the finals, MMC coach Chhiring Lopsang Gurung said that he was satisfied with his boys’ performance. “We should have won the match by a wide margin but our strikers failed to utilise the chances created by the midfielders,” he added.

MPC coach Birat Shrestha said his players performed as expected. “We played according to the plan, but lost the match due to a minor defensive error. It was a tight match, and the opponents took the match capitalising on our error,” he added.

In Tuesday’s semi-final, Tribhuvan Army Club will play against Sankata Club.