Army halt Dauphins’ charge

- DEEPAK PARIYAR, LEKHNATH (KASKI)

Mar 1, 2019-

Visiting Dauphins Family’s title winning spree in Nepali football finally came to an end after Tribhuvan Army Club overcame the Cameroonian outfit 1-0 to enter into the final of the 17th Aaha-Rara Gold Cup football tournament at the Pokhara Stadium on Thursday.    

An early goal from Tek Bahadur Budathoki turned out to be the decider for the departmental team who confirmed the final showdown with Three Star Club for Saturday. It was the first defeat of Dauphins, tagged unauthorised by football governing body All Nepal Football Association (ANFA), in the last four tournaments they have played. Earlier they have won three back-to-back titles including Pokhara Cup at the same venue on February 10, Budha Subba Gold Cup in Dharan on February 16 and Tilottama Gold Cup in Butwal on February 25.

Midfielder Budathoki made a spectacular header in the 13th minute to convert Deepak Gurung’s long pass at the far post guiding the departmental team closer to the third title of the season. Earlier, Army had won Bishal Gold Cup in Birgunj and Madan Bhandari Itahari Gold Cup in Itahari. Despite making it to the final of the tournament thrice, Army have never won the championship.   

The evenly contested affair saw both the sides create scoring chances on regular intervals. Army could have doubled the advantage in the 20th minute but Santosh Tamang failed to connect skipper Bharat Khawas’ cross inside the zone. In the 35th, Khawas scorcher set by Santosh Tamang in back pass from Nawayug Shrestha was parried by Dauphins goalie Priso before the defender cleared it.

Dauphins also created some chances in the first half when Yanik Stephane fired above bar in the 11th minute. They could have levelled the scores in the 27th when Nia Andres failed to score in a one-on-one situation with goalie Bikesh Kuthu after he rounded up Army defenders. He ended up shooting inches wide at the near post. Two minutes later Yannick Owona headed Ahanda Aloys corner inches above bar.

Dauphins were forced to play with one-man down for the last five minute after the striker Yannick was shown second yellow in the 85th. He was the same player who had netted lone goal against Nepal APF Club during the final of the Pokhara Cup.

In the 61st minute, striker Nawayug Shrestha failed to utilise Tanka Basnet pass and nine minutes later Shrestha again squandered scoring chance in one-on-one encounter with goalie Priso. Deepak Gurung also wasted scoring opportunity in the 74th after he beat two defenders but failed to hit the target though goalie Priso had left the post unguarded. Gurung was declared man-of-the-match.

Army coach Nabin Neupane said that the departmental team were planning to set new history by winning the title for the first time ending a long barren spell.

Published: 01-03-2019 11:14

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