Sahara UK stun Friends

Pokhara, January 8:

Sahara UK stunned NIBL Friends Club 1-0 to enter the semi-finals of the sixth Aaha Gold Cup Football Tournament here at the Pokhara Stadium today.

Bahr Laksamba scored the decider early in the ninth minute to help the assembled London team secure the last four spot in their only second appearance. Laksamba headed home capitalising on a poor defense of the ‘A’ Division outfit following a 35-yard freekick from Bimala Sherchan. Sahara UK will meet Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club in the semi-final match on Thursday.

Friends created several opportunities but it was Sahara UK that came close to scoring their second goal in the first half injury time. Simon Williams wasted an open chance after his teammate Bimal Sherchan’s shot rebounded off Friends goalkeeper Rupak Shrestha.

Nilendra Dewan, Binod Lama and Nur Raj Kafle all wasted rare goal-scoring chances for Friends Club. Despite the strong Sahara defense, Dewan was close to equalising in the 27th minute but delayed his shot from 10 yards gave Sahara defender enough time to clear.

Lama ruined another opportunity shooting wide of the target in a solitary encounter with Sahara goalkeeper Dilip Chhetri in 56th minute. Chhetri, who plays for ‘A’ Division club Ranipokhari Corner Team (RCT), also denied Kafle in one-on-one situation in the 87th minute.

Sahara UK coach Geff Glasgow said that his strong defense was the key to their victory. “We scored an early goal and succeeded to put off their (Friends Club) threat,” said Glasgow. Glasgow said that they should have won the game with 2-0 margin.

Friends Club coach Mrigendra Mishra blamed his strikers. “It’s a shame that my boys wasted so many easy goal-scoring opportunities. Even the goal we conceded was the result of poor marking,” said Mishra.

Two-time champions Nepal Police Club will take on Sahara Club in the first semi-final on Wednesday.