MMC shoot out Army in dramatic final

Kathmandu, September 21:

Tribhuvan Army Club (TAC) made a brilliant comeback from a three-goal deficit but lost in the penalty shootout 4-2 against the Manang Marsyangdi Club (MMC) in the final of the Subarna Shumsher Memorial Knockout Football Tournament here at the Kathmandu Dasharath Stadium today.

Raj Kumar Ghising struck twice and Nirajan Khadka scored one for the MMC while Ram Kumar Biswas, Daimoj Dhimal and Bikarna Shrestha netted for the Armymen in the regular time.

Nirajan converted the fifth spot kick to hand MMC the trophy after TAC’s Mahendra Khawas and Shiva Chaudhary’s kicks were saved by MMC goalie Sangeet Sagak. Raju Tamang and goalkeeper Ganga Ram Deuja scored for the Armymen. TAC keeper Deuja saved the first spot kick of MMC skipper Tashi Tsering but Sandeep Rai, Basanta Gauchan, Prabesh Katuwal and Nirajan Khadka all converted the kicks.

MMC was cruising to a comfortable victory with a 3-1 lead in the third minute of the second half injury time when things took a dramatic turn. TAC scored two goals in the last two minutes of the five-minute injury time to force the game to extra time. Bikarna had the easiest of the chances to win the match for the Army team in the 13th minute of the extra time but he wasted it. He guided the ball from 30 yards after beating an offside trap with no MMC defenders chasing him but he went on to hit straight to the advancing MMC goalie Rajak in one-on-one situation.

Earlier, the perfect coordination of Gauchan, Nabin Neupane and Ghising gave MMC the lead in the ninth minute. Gauchan just needed a tap to put the ball behind the bars. Ghising then doublled the lead in the 27th minute capitalising on a defensive error of Chun Bahadur Thapa. TAC goalkeeper Deuja denied Ghising the hat-trick in the 63rd minute.

Nirajan made it 3-0 seven minutes later. Nirajan almost scored his second goal in the 80th minute but goalkeeper Deuja acrobatically punced out his 25-yard shot.

Biswas pulled back a brilliant goal in the 83rd minute. His left-footed drive from the edge of the box sailed into the nets leaving MMC keeper diving in vain. In the dramatic last two minutes, Dhimal made it 3-2 with a fine header before Bikarna netted another goal on Mahendra Khawas’ cross to level the scores.

MMC won Rs 200,000 while TAC got Rs 100,000. The losing semi-finalists Mahendra Police Club and Sankata Club got Rs 25,000 each. In all, 10 ‘A’ Division clubs — MMC, Nabil Three Star, RCT, TAC, MPC, APF, Friends, Jawalakhel, Sankata and Saraswati — took part in the tournament organised by Subarna Shumsher Research Foundation.