Players of Nepal Police Club (blue) and CMG Sankata Club in action during a semifinal match of the 20th Budha Subba Red Bull Gold Cup football tournament at the Dharan Stadium in Dharan on Wednesday. Photo: Rohit Rai/Republica
DHARAN, Feb 8: Just three days after lifting the Aaha Rara Gold Cup, departmental team Nepal Police Club (NPC) has advanced into the final of the 20th Budha Subba Red Bull Gold Cup football tournament defeating CMG Sankata Club 2-1 in semifinal on Wednesday.
At the Dharan Stadium, a goal each from Rejin Subba and Buddha Lama secured the win for the departmental side.
NPC will face the winner of Ruslan Three Star Club (TSC) and Kolkata’s Durgapur Steel Football Club on February 10. The second semifinal match is scheduled for Thursday.
The first half was ended goalless in the competitive match and NPC was successful in scoring the first goal nine minutes into the second period. Subba dribbled past three defenders after a pass from Lama to score a beautiful solo goal. But, the departmental team could not defend its lead longer as Sankata’s Cedric Abba’s cross was brilliantly put to the back of the net by Prakash Budhathoki in a one-touch shot.
The match was pushed into 15-minute extra time as it ended 1-1 in the regular time. Subba created the goal with a cross which was met brilliantly by the head of Lama in the 11th minute of the extra time. Sankata’s Prakash Budathoki was named man-of-the-match and was rewarded with Rs 10,000.
In the attacking game they played, both the teams got plenty of chances, but could not deliver the final ball to score apart from the three goals.
A pass from Rabi Paswan in the fourth minute of the match was wasted by Suman Lama as he shot it wide, while Lama’s effort in the 16th minute was headed clear by Bhushan Subba. Likewise, Tej Tamang’s shot sailed over the bar resulting from a failure to clear the ball by the defenders in the 50th minute, while Paswan could not shoot despite dribbling the ball near the post in the sixth minute of the extra time.
For Sankata, Raj Paudel could not head the ball goalwards from a Prakash Budathoki’s cross in the 11th minute, while Hemant Thapa Magar’s free kick was punched by NPC goalkeeper Satrudhan Chaudhary in the 14th minute. Similarly, Abba’s shot in the 25th minute was cleared from the goalline by NPC’s Dinesh Rajbanshi and Budhathoki could not head the ball goalwards in the 87th minute in a cross from Rupesh KC. Also another shot from Budhathoki was comfortably saved by the goalkeeper.
NPC head coach Ananta Raj Thapa said that the players played according to the tactics and expressed his happiness saying the performance of young players has improved gradually.
“Our young players are catching the rhythm day by day. We are trying to play total football,’’ Thapa said, “I am happy defeating Sankata that is physically strong with three African players.’’
Sankata head coach Salyan Khadgi said that his side was defeated as his players failed to maintain proper coordination in the latter stage of the match.
“The game was good, but we were defeated due to weaknesses on the part of defense. The loss was frustrating. We were also not awarded a penalty despite the ball was controlled by hand in the final minutes,’’ he said.