KATHMANDU, Oct 13: The final of the Ncell Cup held on Saturday was beyond the expectations of football pundits where Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) cemented its domination in the Nepali football clinching the title with a stunning 6-1 win over McDowell´s Ranipokhari Corner Team (RCT) at the Dasharath Stadium in Kathmandu.
Skipper Anil Gurung, the hero of MMC, scripted the easy victory with four goals in his name.
The Nepali international, who was declared the best forward, wrapped up the with six goals to his name. RCT winger Amar Dangol is behind Gurung with five goals in his account.
Coincidentally, MMC also repeated its glorious high scoring history in the final. In 2057 BS MMC had defeated Nepal Police Club 6-1 in the Birthday Cup final. Meanwhile, the title also became first for MMC after 2063 in the capital.
Gurung´s who competed his hat-trick in the 28th minute, as MMC was 4-0 up by then, also became the only player to reach the milestone in the tournament. Mbile Leonel Stephen and late substitute Sulav Maskey also scored one goal each for MMC. RCT´s African striker Oladipo Olawala Afeez scored the consolation in the third minute of seven minute injury time of the first half.
The winner MMC received Rs 1.5 million while the runner up RCT had to satisfy itself with Rs 700,000. The two semifinalist -- Iceberg Madhayapur Youth Association and Nepal Police Club received Rs 150,000 each.
The promise made by MMC coach Krishna Thapa on Friday to play beautiful football was fulfilled on Saturday. However, the score margin was far bigger than his expectations.
"I though we could beat RCT, but I had not expected such a big win. We achieved target in all our attacks of the first half ," Thapa, who was taking the charge of A division club for the first time in his career, told during post match conference. Thapa also vowed to give continuity to the team´s pattern of play in the future as well.
Gurung scored in the 7th, 18th, 28th and 82nd minute, all with brilliant finishing. "After opening the score at the early moment I was confident that I could score more goals as well," skipper Gurung said on his spectacular finish in the team´s huge margin. For the opener Gurung made a superb volley from the area after being left unmarked in Sujal Shrestha cross.
"I had focused a lot on finishing during training and the success we achieved is due to the hard team effort. I think I put up good overall show. I am very delighted to win the first title under my first captainship," said Gurung who credited the team´s achievement to his coach, management and teammates.
Stephen doubled the tally a minute later with a half-volley strike from area in Amir Shrestha´s pass. Gurung tactfully made it 3-0 after he got his foot on the ball in pass of Amir Shrestha while vying with Neeraj Remi Magar. Gurung achieved his hat-trick with a brilliant strike from the right flank as nervous RCT goalie Dilip Thapa looked clueless.
Gurung netted his fourth goal with a spectacular diving header in Sujal Shrestha´s corner and Sulav Maskey, the 78th minute replacement of Amir Shrestha, sealed the victory after his strike deflected off defender Neeraj Remi Magar and entered the net changing the course of ball.
MMC coach Thapa opined that long training, discipline and good form of players made the win possible. "We got off to early scoring as well and I credit the players for the achievement," said Thapa who was delighted with his first club title.
RCT coach Madhu Karki opined that conceding two early goals was a major setback for the team. "The match was killed as soon as we conceded two goals during initial eight minutes and I am really disappointed to be defeated by the big margin. MMC achieved goals in all four of their initial post attacks," said Karki who however, expressed satisfaction with his team´s overall performance in the tournament.
Meanwhile, MMC´s midfielder Shiva Shrestha´s declaration as the best player of the tournament was unexpected and surprising to most of the spectators. Shrestha was awarded a motorbike for his feat.
Power cut interrupts match
The final match between MMC and RCT played under floodlights was interrupted in the 32nd minute for five minute due to power failure. Though the power failure shut down the floodlights in the 23rd minute, the match continued until the 32nd minute.
However, ANFA officials failed to fix the problem during that period. The match referee Laba Khatri decided to stop the match, which had kicked off at 17:15, due to poor light. The spectators at the stand then switched on the lights of their mobile phone as a symbolic protest. ANFA said the power failure was the result of technical glitch.
Best award winners
Shiva Shrestha---Overall best player MMC
Bikesh Kutu---goalkeeper Madhyapur
Sabindra Shrestha---defender MMC
Amar Dangol---midfielder RCT
Anil Gurung---forward MMC
Krishna Thapa---coach MMC
* The best players of all positions and coach received Rs 75,000 each while the overall best player was awarded with motorbike.
Total matches: 31
Total goals: 80
Most goals in a match: 8
Average goals per match: 2.58
Highest margin win\oss: 6-1,
Total cards: 110
Yellow card: 106
Red card: 4
MMC celebrate victory. (Photo: Bikash Karki)
MMC supporters. (Photo: Bikash Karki)
The wining team. (Photo: Bikash Karki)
Skipper Anil Gurung with coach. (Photo: Bikash Karki)
Sujal Shrestha of MMC takes photos: (PHOTO: BIKASH KARKI)