Players of Nepal Police Club (blue) and Armed Police Force in action during their match of the Sahara Surunga Gold Cup football tournament at Surunga, Jhapa on Wednesday. Photo: Republica
JHAPA, Nov 23: Departmental team Armed Police Force (APF) registered yet another victory in tiebreaker in the Sahara Surunga Gold Cup Football Tournament on Wednesday to book the final ticket.
APF, which earlier overcame Jhapa XI in shootout to book the semifinal spot, overcame departmental rival Nepal Police Club 5-4 in the first semifinal of the tournament being held in Surung, Jhapa.
A missed penalty from Buddha Lama cost dear for Police as its opponent converted all five goals from the spot. In its opening match against Jhapa XI, APF beat its opponent in a similar fashion after Devendra Tamang failed to achieve the target from the spot.
On Wednesday, the fate of the winner was decided straight through spot kick after the regulation time ended in a 0-0 draw. Nabin Lama, Aditya Chaudhary, Milan Rai, Palsang Lama and Ranjan Bista succeed in converting penalty for APF while Bikram Dhimal, Dinesh Gurung, Tej Tamang and Dinesh Rajbansi scored from the spot for Police. Buddha hit off the target for Police.
In Saturday's final, APF will take on the winner of the second semifinal match to be held between Rupandehi XI and Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) scheduled for Thursday. The winner will walk home with a purse of Rs 351,111 and the runner-up will receive Rs 251,111.
Police, which used to be a strong team a couple of years ago, came under pressure throughout the match and was forced to come up with defensive show.
APF resorted to offensive style of play from the onset and tested Police goalie Roshan Khadka as early as in the fifth minute. Roshan made a brilliant save to deny Nabin's strike from the six-yard zone. APF came up with three dangerous strikes on goal within the next four minutes. However, Bista brothers Ranjan and Anjan and Rajendra Rawal failed to achieve the target. Anjan's 22nd minute strike sailed inches above the bar.
Ramesh Dangal's header four minutes into second half went inches off the target.
However, Police replied with few attempts on APF's goal. Rabi Paswan's 31st minute strike for Police was denied by goalie Amrit Chaudhary.
APF midfielde Rajendra Rawal was declared the man-of-the-match and received an android mobile phone for his feat. Meanwhile Police player Bikram Dhimal, who took the first penalty of the shootout, was rewarded with Rs 2000.