Uttam fires RCT into semis

Source: Himalayan News Service

KATHMANDU: Rani Pokhari Corner Team (RCT) defeated NIBL Friends Club 1-0 to enter the semi-finals of the British Gorkha Cup Football Tournament here at the Dasharath Stadium today.

Uttam Gurung netted the solitary goal of the match in the 36th minute. Friends custodian Rupak Shrestha remained stranded when Uttam's powerful low shot kissed the nets on a rebound of Prabesh Katuwal's freekick.

RCT will now play title favorites Nabil Three Star Club, who upset Nepal Police Club 2-1 on Thursday. RCT coach Madhu Karki said his team failed to perform to their potentials today and would put up a good challenge agaisnt Three Star on Wednesday. "We have already held Three Star to a 1-1 draw in the league match and we would be a improved team when we take on them in the semi-finals," said cofident Karki, the RCT's former skipper.

RCT enjoyed a better possession over Friends and the winning margin could have been huge had they converted on half-a-dozen goal scoring opportunities. Yogesh Gurung attempted on a sublime cross from Dipesh Thapa Magar in the 31st minute but Friends goalkeeper Rupak denied him.

Yogesh then ended up hitting the woodwork in the 38th minute and unmarked Rishi Rai skied the shot on a rebound. Dipak Rai muffed up another chance in the 58th minute following a cross from Dipesh. In the dying moments of the match, man of the match, Uttam came close to scoring his second goal but shot weakly inside the area.

Friends created a couple of opportunities but failed to utilise them. Bharat Khawas made a brilliant run taking the ball from the centre but failed to beat the advancing RCT goalie Dillip Chhetri. In the 83rd minute, Santosh Maharjan failed to control a brilliant cross from Bharat.

Friends coach Mrigendra Mishra said his team didn't show their true colours as they did in the league stage. He balmed the dismal performance from the midfielders as the root cause of the loss. Mishra also hinted at bringing in other midfielders for the 'A' Division League. "I don't think these midfielders would work in the league. Sooner or later I will have to look for the replacement," added the coach.

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