NRT shoot Sahara UK out in quarters

POKHARA: Tulasi Baiju became the hero saving denying to spot kicks as New Road Team (NRT) defeated the visiting Sahara Football Club of UK 4-2 in the tie breakers to reach the semi-finals of the eighth Aaha Gold Cup here today.

In a nail biting match at the Pokhara Stadium, the regular 90 minutes ended on 1-1 stalemate. With 30 minutes of added time, both teams failed to break the deadlock and the match reached to the tie breakers.

Naveen Neupane brought the heart out on sleeves missing the first NRT spot kick but skipper Jeevan Sinkeman, Umesh Upreti, Nirajan Rayamajhi and Rajesh Shahi converted to give life to the Kathmandu based team. It was custodian Baiju who booked the last four berth for NRT denying Peter Wiggs and Gabs to knock the visitors out. Gopal Thapa and Eugene Ashanti converted the first two spot kicks.

Sahara UK took lead in the 40th minute after Jordan Watson took the ball alone from the centre line and gave no time for Baiju to react. NRT gave their best to level the scoring after conceding a goal but they had to wait till the dying moments of the match. Nirajan Rayamajhi met a brilliant cross from skipper Jeevan and made no mistake converting it in the injury time.

The visiting team's manager Naveen Gurung said his players lacked coordination and couldn't adapt with the ground conditions. NRT coach Diken Suwal said his players found it difficult to come with rigid strategy against the physically strong UK team. NRT will now take on Tribhuvan Army Club in the semi-finals. Manang Marshyangdi Club will paly title favorites Nepal Police Club in the first semi-final match on Wednesday.

Budha Subba

DHARAN: Laxmi Shrestha scored a hat trick as hosts Dharan Football Club gave a fine opening to their 12th Buddha Subba Gold Cup with a 4-1 win over Morang-XI here on Tuesday. In a lopsided match, man of the match Laxmi gave a one-man show opening his account in the third minute. Laxmi then doubled the team's lead in the 42nd. Morang replied in the 58th minute with a goal from Anil Dhimal which later became only a consolation. Laxmi completed his hat trick in the 86th minute and Shekhar Limbu completed the rout striking in the 91st minute of the match. On Wednesday, Knight Chess Club of Jhapa will take on Sunocho Club of Sikkim.