BARA, Feb 16: Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) defended the title of Magic Moments Fourth Simara Gold Cup Football Tournament defeating Yeti Himalayan Sherpa Club 1-0 in the final held in Simara of Bara on Saturday.
MMC´s African forward Fils Sergio Chico scored the all-important goal in the 12th minute of the rain-affected match. Chico unleashed a powerful shot from the center in a pass from Nirajan Malla to stun Sherpa custodian Binay Shrestha.
Along with the winner´s trophy MMC bagged Rs 400,000, the highest cash prize in any tournament held outside the capital. Runner-up Sherpa received Rs 200,000 along with the trophy. ANFA President Ganesh Thapa and Shreedhar Shumsher Rana, the manager of Rolling River Private Limited, Chitwan, gave away the prizes.
It was MMC´s third title of the season. The club had earlier won the Ncell Cup in October and Safal Pokhara Cup in November 2012. However, MMC crashed out in its very first match of the Aaha-Rara Gold Cup held recently in Pokhara prompting coach Krishna Thapa to resign from his job.
MMC manager Kumar Bhattarai was delighted with his side´s title victory. He, however, said that both the sides failed to perform to their potential because of rain. "The match was fairly competitive but the teams´ performance was hampered by the rainfall," said Bhattarai. He was also full of praise for opponent custodian Binay Shrestha. "The midfield was superb today. We dominated the game but the opponent custodian made some heroic saves to prevent us from scoring more goals."
Sherpa coach Meghraj KC was satisfied with his side´s performance despite the defeat. "Though MMC is a better team than us we threw them a tough challenge. We missed a few chances as well, but I am satisfied with the performance."
MMC skipper Shiva Shrestha was declared the best player of the tournament and was awarded with a laptop. Shrestha was recently left out of the national team´s closed camp training for the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers. Karna Limbu of Machhindra took home the highest scorer award for scoring four goals in the tournament. Limbu was awarded with Rs 15,000.
Sherpa´s Binay Shrestha won the best goalkeeper award while the best forward award went to Dhiroj Tamang of the same team. Similarly, Mbile Leonel Stephen of MMC won the best defender award and Bishal Rai B of Machhindra Club took home the best midfielder award. Himalayan Sherpa coach Meghraj KC was declared the best coach. All of them received Rs 10,000 each.