Sports

Khaptad Gold Cup: Police stun Three Star for title

- MOHAN BUDHAYER, DHANGADHI

Jan 20, 2019-

Nepal Police Club stunned a star-studded Three Star Club 1-0 in the final to claim the Khaptad Gold Cup football tournament at the Dhangadhi Stadium on Saturday. 

A lone goal from Abhishek Rijal turned decisive in the final of the tournament which offered a purse of Rs 2.1 million, the highest cash prize in knockout football, to the winners. Runners up Three Star had to be content with Rs 1 million.

Police coach Ananta Raj Thapa said that his strategy against the star studded opponents, bolstered by the inclusion of foreign recruits, was perfectly executed in the title showdown. “There was a big challenge ahead of us to do well after League (sixth place finish in the Martyrs Memorial). We were successful in our game plan. The credit goes to players as they followed my instructions. We will play even better in the upcoming matches and this victory will definitely motivate us,” said Thapa adding that the match was an evenly contested affair. 

The competitive match saw, a seventh minute strike from Three Star’s Mikchen Tamang in Fode Fofana pass at near post was caught by goalie Satrudhan Chaudhary. 

Three Star came closer to scoring in the 20th minute when Police custodian Chaudhary caught Dhimal’s freekick inside the six-yard zone before sliding Ranjan Bista missed the ball by a whisker. Five minutes later Ananta Tamang’s header for the Lalitpur-based team in a Sunil Bal pass went wide. 

Police came up with first notable move in the 35th when Rabi Paswan’s one-touch strike from close range in Nir Kumar Rai cross sailed just high above the bar. 

The departmental team made the breakthrough as Rijal headed Rai’s corner from the crowded zone leaving Three Star goalie Alan Neupane stunned. Police again missed chance in the 78th as they failed to capitalised on a ball parried by goalie Neupane that landed straight on skipper Bikram Dhimal’s feet.

Police also dominated the individual awards claiming five out of seven. Police midfielder Ravi Paswan was declared the-best-player of the tournament and rode on a two wheeler. 

His teammates Tirtha Rana (three goals) won the highest scorer award, Chaudhary was declared the best goalkeeper, Ajit Bhandari best defender and coach Thapa was named the best coach. The emerging player award went to Bharat Tamatta of hosts Sudur Paschim XI while Three Star skipper Bikram Lama was declared the best midfielder. Each individual award winner received Rs 15,000.

Published: 20-01-2019 07:26

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