Players and members of Manang Marsyangdi Club pose for a group photo with their trophy after winning Rumpum Jhapa Gold Cup football tournament in Birtamod, Jhapa on Monday. Photo: Republica
JHAPA, Feb 7: Manang Marsyangdi Club has lifted the title of the second edition of Rumpum Jhapa Gold Cup defeating home team Jhapa-XI 1-0 in the summit clash at Domalal Stadium on Monday. Olawale O Afeez's goal in the 63rd minute of the second half was sufficient for Manang to clinch the third trophy for the club within 24 days.
Earlier, the A-Division outfit had lifted Khaptad Gold Cup in Dhangadhi defeating CMG Sankata Club and its second trophy came in Pokhara as it won Aaha-Rara Gold Cup overcoming host Sahara Club. Coincidentally, Manang won all the finals with the scoreline of 1-0.
Defeating the home team backed by thousands of spectators in the final, Manang won a purse of Rs 700,000 while the runner-up was rewarded with Rs 350, 000. It is the second consecutive occasion that host Jhapa-XI lost the final of the tournament as it was defeated by Tribhuvan Army Club in the last edition.
After guiding the team to back-to-back titles, Manang's head coach Chhiring Lopsang expressed his delight. “Sometimes in football only one goal is enough to be the champion and the same thing happened today. We are very happy to win this trophy,” said head coach Lopsang.
Jhapa-XI's goalkeeper Alan Neupane making costly error saw Olawale scoring an easy goal. Olawale had controlled the ball coming from Nirajan Malla's free-kick before firing it into Jhapa-XI's goalpost which wasn't fully guarded by Alan.
Both sides created many scoring opportunities in the match that was very competitive.
However, home team failed to utilizing those opportunities. Karna Limbu had chance to give early lead for his team in the 15th minute but his close-range header went wide. Two minutes later, national team forward Sujal Shrestha had another opportunity to score for the champion, but he couldn't direct his shot into the opponent's post. In the 19th minute, Olawale's shot from the edge of the penalty box was saved by Jhapa-XI's goalie Alan. Karna Limbu had chance to put his team ahead in the 32nd minute but his powerful shot went wide. Seven minutes later Rajin Dhimal's free-kick was punched by Manang's goalkeeper Dinesh Thapa.
Both teams started the second half with more attacking style. Manang's skipper Sujal hit the woodwork in the 61st minute. Ten minutes later, Jhapa's striker Karna again missed a chance to score for his team as his shot was saved by Manang's goalie Dinesh. Just before the three minutes of the normal time, Jhapa's Ranjit Shrestha missed a great chance to score an equalizer as he couldn't direct the ball into Manang's post from close range.
Before making it to the final, Manang had defeated defending champion Army in the semifinal. Similarly, Jhapa-XI had overcame the challenge of Himalayan Sherpa Club in the last four clash to fix the final date with Manang. Nirajan Malla of Manang was declared the man-of-the-match and was awarded with Rs 15000.
In the meantime, Rohit Chand who made a come back from eight months injury layoff since taking part in the Aaha-Rara Gold Cup was declared the best player of the tournament. He was awarded with Yamaha motorcycle. Similarly, Jhapa-XI's attacking duo Karna and Buddha Chemjong who scored three each goals were declared as highest scorers of the tournament before awarding with Rs 15000 each. Jhapa-XI's Alan Neupane, Devendra Tamang and Ranjit Shrestha were announced as best goalkeeper, defender and midfielder and were rewarded with similar cash prize. Best coach award went to Manang's Chhiring and was given Rs 15000. The tournament that kicked off from January 28 featured 10 teams including nine domestic clubs and one from abroad.