MMC beat Jhapa, enter semis

Pokhara, March 8

Anjan Bista scored the solitary goal as NOC Manang Marshyangdi Club defeated Jhapa-XI Football Club 1-0 and advanced to the semi-finals of the 18th Aaha-Rara Gold Cup here at the Pokhara Stadium today.

After a goalless first half, Bista found the back of the nets in the 75th minute when he controlled the pass from Dayananda Singh and slammed home from inside the penalty box. Bista was later named the man of the match and he earned Rs 5,000.

The five-time champions MMC dominated the first half and came close to opening the scoring in the 11th minute but Anjan Bista shot wide from the edge of the box, while Jhapa goalkeeper Raj Kumar Limbu blocked Aditya Chaudhary’s header following a pass from Kamal Shrestha six minutes later. Nishan Limbu muffed up a chance for Manang in the 29th minute.

Bimal Rana Magar wasted an opportunity in the 33rd minute at a time when Jhapa goalkeeper Limbu was not in his proper position, while Dayananda Singh’s volley from the edge of the area sailed inches above the cross bar in the 42nd minute. Jhapa custodian Limbu made sure the first half ended in a draw with a fine save to deny Anjan Bista in the injury time.

Jhapa brought in national team defender Devendra Tamang and midfielder Bishal Rai in the second half but the move failed to bear fruits. Instead, Bimal Rana missed a chance from the penalty box in the second minute of the injury time. Jhapa created a couple of chances in the injury time but they could not find the back of the nets. Manang defender Florent blocked Sunil Khadka’s shot, while Abhishek Gurung failed to beat past Manang goalkeeper Ankur Tamang in one-on-one situation moments before the final whistle.

On Monday, Ruslan Three Star Club will play against Gangtok Football Club of India in the third quarter-final match.