Army take on MMC in Itahari Cup final

- BEDRAJ PAUDEL, ITAHARI

Feb 2, 2019-

Tribhuvan Army Club (TAC) will take on Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC)

in the title showdown of the Madan Bhandari Memorial Itahari Gold Cup football tournament here on Saturday.

It will be the third final of the season for departmental giants in as many weeks. The Army club claimed the Bishal Gold Cup title in Birgunj on January 19 and finished runners-up behind Three Star in the Simara Gold Cup on January 26. Unlike Army, it is the first final of the season for the Martyrs Memorial ‘A’ Division League champions MMC, who were knocked out of the first match of the Khaptad Gold Cup in Dhangadhi on January 13.  

The last time these two teams clashed in a competitive football was during the ‘A’ Division League on December 14 last year where MMC prevailed 1-0 over Army, who ultimately finished fourth. Apart from the coveted trophy, Rs 1.6 million is also at stake in the final. The runners-up will have to return with Rs 800,000.

MMC’s Nigerian coach Fuja Tope said his side was well aware about the weaknesses and strengths their opponents. “We have played them many time in the past and we know them inside out. We will come up with full preparation to disappoint them,” said Fuja. His Army counterpart Chun Bahadur Thapa said that the departmental team would amend their past mistakes to ensure they walk away with the winners’ trophy.

Both the teams are expected to retain the same set of players who played in the previous matches. MMC captain Sujal Shrestha predicted that the match would be an evenly contested affair. “Army are strong opponents and both sides have equal chances for victory. Army defeated the likes of Three Star in the quarter-finals and we should not take them lightly,” said the Nepali international whose team finished runners-up in the last edition, losing to Three Star in the final.

The Army club skipper Bharat Khawas said that his team has failed to perform to their potential in previous matches due to congested tournament participation. “But we are determined to give our best and win the trophy. We are well aware of the opponents and we need not do anything extraordinary to beat them. We just need to put our basics right,” said Khawas.

Published: 02-02-2019 12:17

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