Sahara shoot Army out in semis

Pokhara, January 25

Ten-man Sahara Club of Pokhara upset Tribhuvan Army Club out 4-3 on penalties to advance to the final of the 15th Aaha-Rara Gold Cup here at the Pokhara Stadium today.

The winners of the match were decided through the penalty shootout after both the teams failed to score in the regulation period of 90 minutes and 30 minutes of added time.

Sushan Gurung, Shiva Subedi, Pradeep Gurung and skipper Uttam Gurung converted their spot kicks for hosts Sahara, while Laxman GC failed to score.

Likewise, Jitendra Karki, Santosh Tamang and Deep Lama were the scorers for TAC, while Deepak Gurung shot wide and Bikesh Kuthu was denied by Sahara goalkeeper Sujit Gurung. Sahara glovesman Gurung was named the man-of-the-match and received Rs 3,000.

Sahara and TAC had previously faced each other twice in the semi-finals of the tournament. TAC had defeated the hosts 2-0 last year, while Sahara were the winners in 2013 following their 4-2 victory in penalty shootout.

Sahara will now face either defending champions Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club or CMG Club Sankata in Saturday’s final. The second semi-final between MMC and Sankata will be played on Thursday.

Elated with the victory Sahara coach Kiran Shrestha said his side won the battle after being able to stop the opponents with the defensive approach in regulation period. “We were successful in our defensive strategy and we emerged as victorious against a strong team after our players did not take risk,” said Shrestha.

TAC coach Nabin Neupane said his side lost the match after failing to convert the goal scoring opportunities on couple of occasions. “We were unable to convert the chances and the opponents’ defensive approached worked for them,” said Neupane.

Sahara were reduced to 10 men after FIFA Referee Sudish Kumar Pandey expelled Boby Odongo for a harsh tackle against TAC skipper Bharat Khawas at the dying moments of the extra time.