SIMARA, July 28: Defending champion Armed Police Force (APF) claimed the 14th Ncell National Women´s Football Championship on Saturday with a 2-1 comeback victory over arch rival Nepal Police Club at the Simara ground, Bara.
In the thrilling match, Police skipper Chandra Bhandari stunned APF with a 17th minute goal. APF skipper Jamuna Gurung equalized in the 41st minute and Anu Lama sealed in its fifth consecutive title with a goal in the 75th minute.
With the win APF bagged purse of Rs 300,000 while NPC was awarded Rs 150,000. Two semi-finalists -- Nepal Army and Kailali were given Rs 50,000 each.
In the final, both teams played attractive football with good passes. Seizing the ball from midfield Niru Thapa played one-to-one pass with Yashoda Lama and finally set it to skipper Bhandari at close range, who sent the ball past police goalie Chandra Devi Dahal.
APF striker Aun Lama was tightly marked by Police defenders early in the match but she managed to beat two defenders and charged at the post only to be denied by custodian Namita Dali.
APF´s hard work finally was rewarded after Lama chipped over advancing Police custodian Dali and Gurung headed to level the score. A minute later, Pramila Rai failed to give lead to APF as she fired the ball wide.
Police missed a sitter in the 66th minute as Thapa was denied by APF goalie in one-versus-one situation. Thapa had intercepted the ball from the midfielders and beat two defenders Usha Bhandari and Tulasha Singh just outside the area.
In the 75th Lama sealed the victory for APF after Sajana Rana took the ball from Police defender and supplied it to Lama who made a cool finish to ensure the victory.
APF´s Lama who was later adjudged the best player, said her happiness had doubled after winning the award. “To get the winning goal was really great and winning the best player is the result of my hard work,” said Lama. Lama received Yamaha Scooter as the best player.
APF skipper Gurung credited the trophy to her department. “Our hard work has paid off today. NPC gave us tough challenge but I knew we had the spirit to fight back,” Gurung said.
Police coach Sandesh Shrestha was satisfied with the team´s performance in the final. “It feels sad to lose the final as we were so close but this is the best performance the team has ever put up," Shrestha said.
Along with the title APF also dominated the best individual performers award taking home four titles among five. Best players in all four positions and the best coach was awarded with a purse of Rs 25,000 each.