Army enters final ending Dauphins’ hope of winning fourth title in Nepal
March 1, 2019 11:55 AM NPT
By: DHAN BASNET
Nawayug Shrestha of Tribhuvan Army Club (left) hits the ball during a semifinal match of the Aaha Rara Gold Cup football tournament at the Pokhara Stadium in Pokhara on Thursday. Photo: Umesh Pun/Republica
POKHARA, March 1: Cameroon’s Dauphins Football Club, who had a target of winning its fourth title this season in Nepal and the second in Pokhara, suffered a setback as the departmental team Tribhuvan Army Club defeated it 1-0 to reach the final in the ongoing 17th Aaha Rara Gold Cup on Thursday.
In the second semifinal match played at the Pokhara Stadium, Army defeated Dauphins to fix its summit clash with Three Star Club who defeated the other departmental team Armed Police Force (APF) Club, Wednesday.
Dauphins had earlier won the Budha Subba Gold Cup, Tilottama Gold Cup and Manakamana Cable Car Pokhara Cup.
Army took the lead in the 13th minute as Dipak Gurung gave a cross to Tej Bahadur Budathoki, and he hit a lounging header beating the defender to score. The ball hit the underside of the bar to go in which was failed to be saved by Dauphins keeper Priso.
The team could not score any other goal and defended well to protect the lead and made its way to the final of the tournament.
Dauphins, who showed the standard of the Nepali football clubs by stunning some big names of Nepal defeating the teams in the knockout stages, was limited to 10 men in the game. The team’s experienced strike Yannick Ohona was shown a direct red card in the 85th minute. Dauphins struggled to create chances to score because of the absence of Ohana and lost the game.
Army, scoring a goal in the first half, kept on putting Dauphins keeper Priso under pressure with constant attacks. Bharat Khawas gave a through ball to Santosh Tamang, but he could not get the ball on time. Army got another chance to double its lead as Khawas hit a shot from near the post, but Priso saved it in the 35th minute and the rebound was cleared away to safety by defender Dider Tina.
Army got a corner near the end of the first half which was taken by Khawas, but the Army players could not get a good header to it.
Dauphins also created some important chances, but could not score. Ohana got the ball near the danger box, but his shot in a one-vs-one situation just whistled past the post in the 20th minute
A physically good Dauphins side played long balls in the game, but Army players showed good courage and determination to clear the chances. Dauphins’s Tina hit a free-kick in the 39th minute, but the ball was not anywhere close to the post.
As Army managed to defend its narrow lead at the end of the first half, Dauphins looked nervous and on hurry to get a goal in the second period.
With the win, Army has now been able to reach the final for the fourth times. It had earlier reached the summit clash in the seventh, the eighth and the 14th edition of the tournaments, but has not yet been able to win the tournament.
Army got chances in the second half as well, but failed to double the lead. Tanka Basnet gave a back pass to Nawayug Shrestha in the 61st minute, and Shrestha’s shot was saved by Priso. Khawas beat two defenders, but his shot went just wide of the target in the 73rd minute.
Dauphins’ Ohana gave a back pass to Ohanda, but his shot was saved by a diving stop by Bikesh Kuthu in the 71st minute.
Gurung, who played a good playmaking game with his passing performance including an assist, was named the man of the match and was rewarded with Rs 5,000.
The first ever final between Army and Three Star is scheduled to be played on Saturday.