Sahara outplay Navajyoti, enter quarters

Pokhara, January 19

Sahara Club defeated Navajagriti Youth Club 3-0 to advance to the quarter-finals of the 14th Aaha-Rara Gold Club here at the Pokhara Stadium today.

Elvis, Geroge Martial and Kamal Thapa scored a goal each in the inaugural match of the tournament as the hosts took revenge of last year’s defeat against the team from Simara. The 12th edition winners had suffered a shocking defeat at the hands of Navajagriti in last year’s tournament.

Elvis provided an early lead to the hosts when he beat the offside trap to score the opening goal following a pass from Uttam Gurung, who exchanged passes with Shiva Shrestha before releasing the ball, in the sixth minute. Elvis is one of the three foreign recruits in Sahara Club for this tournament.

Martial headed home on Buddha Lama’s corner to double the hosts’ tally seven minutes into the second half, while Thapa, who replaced skipper Uttam Gurung in the 66th minute, put the issue beyond doubt with the team’s third goal in the 83rd minute. Elvis was named the man-of-the-match. Sahara will now face United Sikkim Football Club in the quarter-finals.

Sahara missed two scoring chances after the opening goal. Navajagriti goalkeeper Ravi Thapa denied Elvis in the 13th minute, while Elvis’ header following a cross from Shiva Shrestha was cleared from the goalline in the 33rd minute. At the other end, Navajagriti also muffed up a couple of opportunities in the first half. Ajay BK failed to score a deflected ball from close range, while his free kick from the edge of the box was collected by Sahara goalkeeper Binay Shrestha. Unmarked Ramesh Ghising wasted another chance on a pass from skipper Aba, while BK shot wide moments before the break.

On Wednesday, Nepal APF Club will take on Gorkha Brigade Team of Indian Army. The tournament was inaugurated National Sports Council Member Secretary Keshab Kumar Bista.