SIKKIM, Oct 23: Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) on Saturday registered a thrilling 4-3 tiebreaker victory over Camellia United Sikkim Sporting Club to make it through to quarterfinals in the 32nd All India Governor´s Gold Cup Football Tournament at Gangtok, Sikkim.
In the dramatic match, the fate of winners was decided through tiebreaker after the regulation time ended in a goalless stalemate and the added time finished in 1-1 tie, with MMC coming from behind in the added time.
Palsang Lama scored the decisive spot-kick after Laxuman Subba and skipper Nim Tsering Lepcha missed the second and third spot-kicks for the home team.
Tanzanian midfielder Castory D Mumbara, who arrived some moments before the kick off time from Kolkata missed the third spot-kick taken for MMC. Mumbara hit high above the bar squandering the chance to score a goal. Santosh Sahukhala converted the opening spot-kick, while Sujal Shrestha and Ganesh Khadka succeeded in converting the second and fourth one.
MMC will now take on Mohammedan Sporting Club, Kolkata in their quarterfinal match on Friday.
Earlier, the visitors were nearly sent crashing out of the tournament when United Sikkim took the lead in the 11th minute of the added time. The home team had taken the lead through Tenzing Tsephel, who headed in a corner of Laxuman Subba.
Thanks to an equalizer from MMC striker Sahukhala who rescued the team five minutes before the end of added time. Sahukhala send the ball past net from close range out of scuffle as United Sikkim goalie Surjay Pariyar dropped the long shot of Deepak Bhusal. MMC skipper Tashi Tsering, who challenged the goalie, set the momentum for Sahukhala.
MMC coach Bal Gopal Maharjan termed the victory ´Struggling´ one. “Our boys could not show their coordination as we were playing the first match in the tournament and we were not familiar with the ground condition as well. But we can put up better show in future,” said Maharjan.
Earlier, MMC made an impressive start and hit on target in the very third minute. Nirajan Khadka´s strike for MMC was saved by goalie Pariyar and two minutes later Deepak Bhusal´s right flank shot went inches wide from the post.
Skipper Tsering, Sahukhala, Khum Gurung and Shiva Shrestha squandered a chance each in the first half. Similarly, Ganesh Khadka´s header was denied by united Sikkim goalie Pariyar in the second half. Likewise, Shrestha once again shot wide.
MMC glovesman Bishal Shrestha made some heroic saves in the match. Shrestha made a brilliant long stretch dive in the 10th minute to prevent Saran Sunam´s powerful shot from the box. In the added time, Shrestha denied Sunam in one-on-one position.
United Sikkim skipper Lepcha was delighted with the team´s performance despite the defeat. “We put up very good show and we have taken this match only as the platform for the exposure of local players.”