Sahara upset NPC, enter quarters

Hetauda, December 31

Sahara Club of Pokhara defeated Nepal Police Club 2-0 and advanced to the quarter-finals of the second Tuborg International Hetauda Invitational Gold Cup Football Tournament at the Forestry University grounds today.

Uttam Gurung opened the scoring for Sahara Club in the 28th minute before Shiva Subedi sealed the victory in the 84th minute. Subedi was named the man-of-the-match. Sahara will now play against Delhi United of India for a place in the semi-finals. Bijay Youth Club of Hetauda have already advanced to the last eight defeating Saraswoti Youth Club 3-1 in penalty shootout on Thursday.

Sahara Club coach Kiran Shrestha said his players utilised the opportunities. “Registering a victory over departmental team is an achievement for us,” said Shrestha. “We focused on defense and went for counter-attack. The players implemented the plan and we could win the match against a strong side,” he added. NPC coach Kumar Katuwal said his team lost the match despite playing good that the opponents. “We also missed the services of Rabin Shrestha and Suman Lama,” said Katuwal. The NPC team came to Hetauda after finishing third in the seventh National Games in Eastern Region and coach Katuwal said the players suffered from exhaustion. “We did not get adequate rest and the team came under pressure after the players failed to cash on goal-scoring chances,” he added.

A total of 10 teams, including one each from India and Bhutan, are taking part in the tournament organised by Suman Bhomjan Memorial Foundation under the sponsorship of Gorkha Brewery. The Foundation was established in memory of sports journalist Suman Bhomjan who lost his life in last year’s earthquake. Top two teams will receive Rs 500,000 and Rs 300,000 respectively, while the best player will be rewarded with Rs 50,000. Likewise, the five best individuals — goalkeeper, defender, midfielder, striker and coach — will get Rs 15,000 each. On Sunday, defending champions Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club will play against Nepal APF Club.