MMC rout Army 5-0 for title

- Shiva Sharma, Pokhara

Apr 24, 2016-

Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) hammered Tribhuvan Army Club (TAC) 5-0 to claim the fifth Pokhara Cup here at the Pokhara Stadium on Saturday. 

Skipper Anil Gurung and African recruit Oladipo Olawale Afeez scored a brace each with Sujal Shrestha adding other in MMC’s clinical display that saw them reign supreme over TAC one more time. TAC were also beaten by MMC in the finals of Aaha-Rara Gold Cup and Hetauda Cup in their two previous meetings this season. 

Eventual champions TAC had beaten MMC in the semi-finals of the Jhapa Gold Cup last month. Along with the title, MMC grabbed a cash purse of Rs 505,555 and TAC got Rs 255,555. It was tournament’s third title for MMC who had previously won the second and third edition.

With two top ‘A’ Division teams clashing in the final, it was billed as a high-intensity clash but skipper Gurung set the tone for MMC scoring two goals inside the first 10 minutes as TAC never managed to recover from the early setbacks. Gurung struck in the first minute capitalising on a defensive lapse from Jitendra Karki. 

Karki failed to clear a ball at his own area and was dispossessed by Kamal Shrestha who fed the unmarked Gurung before the skipper fired home from a close range. The lead doubled in the 10th minute when Afeez set Gurung close to the goal mouth with pin-point cross and the striker made no mistake with a cool finish.

Both sides were reduced to 10-men in the 20th minute after TAC’s Santosh Tamang and MMC’s Heman Gurung were given a direct red for an altercation. As TAC were finding ways to equalise, the departmental side was shell-shocked with Afeez adding the third on the half-hour mark on a pass from Sujal. 

Four minutes later, Afeez virtually threw TAC out of the contest when in a role reversal Gurung fed the African inside the area and he made no mistake converting with powerful shot. TAC frustration continued as they missed scoring chances in the 33rd minute and second half. It was rather MMC’s day who went 5-0 up with Sujal netting three minutes after resumption.

MMC coach Tshering Lhopsang Gurung was ecstatic with the result. “Our boys played in a great rhythm today. It’s a wonderful result for us,” said Gurung. TAC coach Meghraj KC was left shocked by the losing margin. “We had few mistakes but we cannot believe that we conceded five goals in a final,” said KC.

MMC skipper Gurung was adjudged the man-of-the-final and player-of-the-tournament that saw him ride a motorbike. Kiran Chemjong (goalkeeper), Lhopsang (coach), Kamal Shrestha (defender) were other MMC players to sweep individual awards. Bimal Rana of TAC was named the best defender, while Ranjan Bista of Nepal Armed Police Force Club and Afeez walked away with highest scorer’s award. Each individual got Rs 15,000 each. 

n MMC players and officials celebrate with the trophy after winning the Pokhara Cup on Saturday. Post Photo: bhim Ghimire

Published: 24-04-2016 13:48

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