Jhapa – Nepal’s national football team’s forward Bimal Gharti Magar scored a brace as hosts Jhapa XI defeated Red Panda FC 5-1 to reach the semifinals of the fifth edition of Jhapa Gold Cup on Thursday.
Besides Gharti Magar, Jhapa XI captain Bishal Rai ‘B’ and Bishwas Shrestha were also on target while Sikkim’s Red Panda FC gifted a goal to the hosts during the last quarterfinal match. Yogesh Magar scored a consolation goal for Red Panda from the spot in the 66th minute. Red Panda were awarded the penalty after Bishal Basnet of Jhapa fouled Aman Rasaili of Red Panda.
Jhapa XI had taken an early lead with Bimal Gharti Magar’s goal in the 31st minute from the penalty spot. Red Panda’s Pinso Bhutia scored an own goal in the 55th minute while captain Bishal Rai added a third for the team three minutes later. He collected a rebound from Red Panda’s goalkeeper Nindup Lepcha from his own shot and then scored the goal in his second attempt. Jhapa earned a penalty in the 60th minute but Bimal Gharti Magar’s shot was saved by the Sikkim custodian.
Yogesh Magar cut the deficit in the 66th minute but Jhapa earned another penalty in the 77th minute after Pinso Lepcha handled the ball in the box. Gharti Magar did not make any mistake this time and slotted the ball into the net.
Bishwas Shrestha added another goal in the 89th minute to kill the game. Shrestha was later adjudged the player of the match. Jhapa XI will next face Sankata on Saturday’s semifinal. In the first semifinal scheduled for Friday, Tribhuvan Army Club will lock horns with Satdobato Youth Club, informed Binod Basnet, chairman of the organizing committee.