Players of Armed Police Force (blue) and Jhapa CI in action during their match of the Sahara Surunga Gold Cup in Surunga, Jhapa on Monday. (Republica)
JHAPA, Nov 21: Departmental team Armed Police Force (APF) registered a 5-4 tiebreaker win over local Jhapa XI on Monday to book a place in the semifinals of the Sahara Surunga Gold Cup at Surunga, Jhapa.
Bikram Gurung, who replaced goalie Amrit Chaudhary in the stoppage time, emerged hero for the departmental team denying a penalty of Jhapa. APF coach Ratna Kaji Maharjan took the decision to switch gaolkeepers sensing the match to be heading to a goalless draw. The fate of the winner was decided directly through shootout rather than going for additional time.
Goalkeeper Bikram denied a penalty taken by Nepal international defender Devendra Tamang which became key to Jhapa's win. “Bikram was perfect in the responsibility handed over to him after replacing Amrit in the last moment,” APF coach Maharjan said. “We will amend mistakes in the upcoming matches.”
Besides Devendra, all players of both sides converted from spots. Anjan Bista, Nabin Lama, Aditya Chaudhary, Milan Rai and Palsang Lama took penalties for APF. Similarly, Yogesh Gurung, Rabi Thapa Magar, Dilen Lokten and Ranjit Shrestha converted for Jhapa.
Earlier, Jhapa backed by huge number of local supporters dominated the show and took the match under control. Strikers Bishal Rai and Karna Limbu made numerous charges on goal but APF goalie Amrit made some brilliant saves to deny them.
APF came up with a couple of attempts on goal. Rajendra Rawal's 21st minute scorcher was denied by Jhapa goalie Dinesh Thapa Magar. Four minutes later, he again prevented Anjan Bista from scoring.
A Jhapa striker squandered a beautiful opportunity six minutes into the second half in a Pujan Uparkoti pass while goalie Amrit prevented Yogesh Gurung's scorcher moments later.
APF player Ranjan Bista was declared the man-of-the-match. The Nepali international was rewarded with an android mobile phone sponsored by Mechi Mobiles.