Sunday, April 14

APF stun Machhindra to reach Aaha Rara Gold Cup final

By a Staff Reporter

Kathmandu – Armed Police Force (APF) Football Club stunned A Division League leaders Machhindra Football Club on Wednesday to reach the final of 20th Aaha Rara Gold Cup 2078 at Pokhara Stadium.

APF defeated 10-man Machhindra 3-1 to reach the final of Aaha Rara Gold Cup for the second time  in  their history. Prior to this, APF had reached the final 14 years ago.

During Wednesday’s match held at Pokhara Stadium, Sanish Shrestha, Pradeep Lama and Navin Lama ensured APF’s victory while Omolala Nuren Karim hit back a goal on behalf of Machhindra.

The match was entertaining right from the beginning. Mesuke Olumou was on target in the 14th minute but his shot was saved by APF goalkeeper Yuya Kuriyama.

Sanish Shrestha gave APF the lead in the 25th minute with a header. He received the ball from Mani Lama’s 30-yard free kick which was awarded to APF after Chiring Gurung upended Lama.

Karim hit an equalizer in the 40th minute to make the score 1-1. An unmarked scored a header in a 30-yard free kick taken by Machhindra skipper Rejin Dhimal after Mesuke Olumou was fouled by Sabin Thapa.

Machhindra were limited to 10 men in the 71st minute after Karim picked up an argument with referee Nabindra Maharjan. The referee gave Karim the marching order after showing a second yellow card.

Pradeep Lama then scored a goal in the 77th minute to extend APF’s lead to 2-1.

APF added another goal in the seventh minute of injury time to ensure their victory. Although Machhindra’s goalkeeper Surya Adhikari managed to save an initial shot from Aavash Lamihhane, APF skipper Navin Lama was able to score a rebound into the empty net.

APF will now face the winner among Army and Manang Marshyangdi Club in the title clash. The second semifinal will be held on Thursday.

A total of 10 teams including 8 from the A Division League have been registered for the Aaha Rara Gold Cup. The winner of the tournament will bag a purse of Rs 1 million while the runnerup will receive Rs 501,000. The cost of organizing the event is expected to reach Rs 10.06 million.

The event is being organized since the last 21 years. The surplus amount collected from the tournament will be provided to the Surya Bahadur Memorial Sahara Football Academy. The academy is currently training the third batch of 24 children from 14 different district. The children have been receiving training, education and health facilities free of cost since the last eight years.

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