Machhindra shock APF 1-0


Pic: republica

KATHMANDU, Jan 11: The semifinals of the ongoing British Gurkha Cup Football Tournament will have no departmental team after both the departmental teams, APF and Nepal Police Club, crashed out in the quarterfinal matches. APF lost 0-1 at the hands of Machhindra Club on Monday.

Another departmental team, Nepal Police Club, which were seen as the title contenders, had lost 1-2 to Nabil Three Star Club in the first quarterfinal on Thursday.

Machhindra will now take on MMC in the second semifinal to be held on Thursday. Man-of-the-match Rohit Chand´s heroic display earned Machhindra the hard fought victory over APF as he gave an early lead to the team in the second minute. Rohit made a superb one touch strike from the edge of the box in a low free-kick of Ram Saran Magar. The goal turned out to be the decider as no other goal was scored in the remaining time.

Likewise, Rohit also saved a goal from the goal line in the 74th minute while Machhindra goalie Tirtha Rijal was hit by Ganesh Lawati´s header in the box and the ball was on the way to the net.

With the win, Machhindra created history by entering into the semifinals of a top-level knockout football tournament for the first time. Machhindra were promoted to the first division in 2005.

The first half of the match seemed balanced in terms of ball possession but APF failed to make any remarkable attempts as the stubborn Machhindra defending line-up remained an obstacle for them.

APF took the second half under control and kept the pressure until the final whistle but failed to score any goal. Machhindra came up with defensive strategy and could not make a single post attempt in the second half.

Jeevesh Pandey´s quick attempt from the box for APF was brilliantly blocked by custodian Tirtha in the 50th minute, and two minutes later Tirtha denied Top Bahadur Bista a chance to score.

Earlier, in the eighth minute, Bishnu KC´s low shot went few inches wide from the post, and in the 37th minute Rohit´s powerful free kick went straight into APF glovesman Chandan Sardar´s hands.

Delighted with the win, APF coach Narottam Shakya lauded the team´s performance. "The players came up with unexpected performance. Our aim was to give the opponents a tough fight as APF are better than us," said Narottam. He praised Rohit´s performance as "one man show."

APF coach Maheshwar Mulmi said it was a bad day for the team. "Despite our dominance, we conceded an unexpected goal in the very beginning; we played well but failed to utilize opportunities."

Tuesday´s match (Semifinal)
Nabil Three Star Vs RCT @ 14:00 NST
Dasharath Stadium

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