MMC rout Jhapa to meet Army in final

- BHIM GHIMIRE, Pokhara

Jan 29, 2016-

Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) underlined their title credentials with a crushing 4-0 victory over Jhapa XI to enter the final of the 14th Aaha-Rara Gold Cup here on Thursday. 

African recruit Oladipo Olawale Afeez struck a hat-trick and Sujal Shrestha added another in MMC’s convincing victory over a modest Jhapa side, who had come into the semi-finals with a 4-1 drubbing of Gazirchat Sporting Club of Bangladesh. MMC, a 1-0 loser to Three Star in the final of last edition, will now take on Tribhuvan Army Club in the title match on Saturday.

Afeez, who was instrumental in Three Star’s National League triumph but decided to leave the club, struck early in the 16th minute converting a cross from Bishwas Shrestha. Jhapa were still in the game and Buddha Chemjong created their first chance in the 26th minute, feeding Karna Limbu inside the area but the forward’s attempt was denied by a clearance from Sisoko.

MMC headed into the second half with a 1-0 cushion and they took the late stages of the game by a storm. Afeez brought his second goal in the 71st minute, rounding up Jhapa goalkeeper to score with an ease in what was an empty post. Shrestha made it 3-0 four minutes later slamming home a cross from skipper Anil Gurung.

Gurung was once again the provider setting up Afeez for his hat-trick in the seventh minute of added-on time. Afeez was named the man-of-the-match. 

MMC are one of the most successful teams in the tournament, winning three titles and finishing runners-up on four occasions. MMC had defeated Gurkha Brigade of India 2-0 in the quarter-finals. MMC coach Tshering Lopsang Gurung said a weak defence allowed them to score freely.

“Jhapa were not looking good both in the attack and defence and that gave us an opportunity to have a go at their post. We are playing against a physically strong Army side and we have to play extremely well,” said Gurung.

Jhapa coach Bhagirath Ale said his side was not able to learn the opponents’ strategy. “We were not expecting a defeat with a big margin. We failed to understand their game,” said Ale.

Durgapur win

ILAM: Durgapur Steel Football Club of Kolkata defeated hosts Mai Valley Football Club 2-0 in the opening match of the Mai Valley Gold Cup here on Thursday. African recruit Eric scored both goals for the visitors to guide his side into the quarter-finals. A total of 10 teams are participating in the knockout tournament that carries a cash purse of Rs 350,000 for the champions. The runners-up will get Rs 175,000. (PR)

Published: 29-01-2016 09:13

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