Mithila Kusuwar of Central Region (orange) vies for the ball against a player of Tribhuvan Army Club during the Chief of Army Staff Fourth International Women’s Football Championship at Army Sports Complex in Lagankhel, Lalitpur on Monday. Photo Courtesy: Bijay Gajmer/Republica
KATHMANDU, Nov 7: Host Tribhuvan Army Club faced a 3-1 upset defeat on penalties to the Central Region in the semifinal clash of the ongoing Chief of Army Staff Fourth International Women's Football Championship on Tuesday. The first semifinal match held at Lagankhel was pushed toward the penalty shootout after it finished in a 2-2 draw in the regular time.
After beating last edition's finalist Army, Central Region has fixed its summit clash against Armed Police Force (APF), which defeated Nepal Police Club (NPC) in another semifinal held on the same day. APF overcame its departmental rival 3-1 in the second semifinal match of the competition.
Earlier, Army took the lead in its home ground after Sharmila Thapa Magar netted the first goal of the match in the 32nd minute. Central Region found the equalizer in the 42nd minute and made the scoreline 1-1, thanks to Susmita Ghising's goal. Central Region extended its lead in the second half after Anju Lopchan scored a goal in the 63rd minute.
When the match was moving ahead in Central Region's favor, Army succeed to produce an equalizer for the second time in the game. Army captain Anjali Waiba scored in the 90th minute to revive the hopes of her team.
In the penalty shootout, only Krishna Khatri from Army was able to convert her penalty while Central Region's Nisha Thakuri, Anju Lopchan and Manisha Raut converted their penalties. Central Region's goalkeeper Anjana Rana Magar was declared the woman-of-the-match.
Similarly, in the second semifinal, defending champion APF registered 3-1 victory over another departmental club Police.
The winning side APF took the lead in the eighth minute from Saru Limbu's goal. APF extended its lead 2-0 in the second half as Gita Rana Magar notched up a goal in the 48th minute. Police cut the deficit in the 78th minute with Niru Thapa's goal. Sabina Bhandari netted Army's third goal in stoppage time to help her side register 3-1 victory. In the last edition of the tournament as well, APF had beaten Police to secure its place in the final. APF's goal scorer Gita was declared the woman-of-the-match.
APF's head coach Janak Singh Tharu expressed his happiness after the win over Police that sent his team to the final for the second consecutive time. “Police didn't play like we had expected. We dominated the game as our midfielders and forwards combined well. So, it wasn't hard to seal the victory,” said coach Tharu. He also praised Central Region's performance, with whom his team will fight for the title on Wednesday.
“Central Region is a hardworking team, their team coordination and playing style is very good. We can't take a team that defeated Army lightly,” added Tharu.
Central Region has been playing this tournament under the coaching of Nura Raj Kafle who had spent his professional career at APF.