BIRTAMODE, Feb 1: Host Jhapa XI stormed into the semifinals of Rumpum Jhapa Gold Cup football tournament on Wednesday after a 4-0 thumping win against visiting Far-west XI at the Domalal Stadium in Birtamode, Jhapa.
African forward Ajayi Martins played key role to ensure comfortable win for the home team, which was supported by roaring home audience. He netted twice and played role in scoring opener which turned to be an own goal by Far-west XI. The African was declared the man-of-the-match.
Jhapa, which regained its form after winning Kakarbhitta Gold Cup about a month ago, gave continuity to its high scoring streak in the tournament. Earlier in the first match, the home team had overcome Share FC of Kalimpong, India 5-0 in the opener.
Though the match started in entertaining fashion with both sides coming up with offensive approach, Jhapa took control of the match after opening the score with an own goal within half-an-hour mark. Rakesh Hamal's bid to deny Martins strike from goalline gave breakthrough to the home team.
In the last two encounters between the two sides, Jhapa had overcome Far-west 3-1 at the latter's home ground while settled for 1-1 draw at the same venue of Jhapa in National League played nearly two years ago.
Far-west coach Rakesh Hamal attributed the own goal as turning point of the match. "The own goal affected the tuning of our play. The match was an evenly contested affair before we conceded the first goal," he lamented. "The boys were nervous after the first goal."
The rejuvenated home team backed by jam-packed local supporters added three more goals after the break. Jhapa doubled the advantage first minute into the second half with a scorcher from Buddha Chemjong leaving Far-west goalie Takendra Thapa clueless.
Martins netted the third goal for Jhapa two minutes later, the 48th minute, beating custodian Tekendra. He netted his individual second goal two minutes from time to seal the comprehensive 4-0 victory. Unmarked Martin netted from the danger zone collecting pass of Dilen Loktan.
Earlier, Far-west squandered scoring chance in the early moment of the match. Bikram Singh hit inches wide as early as in the fourth minute. Similarly, Jhapa came closer to scoring in the ninth minute when Buddha Chemjong smashed into woodwork in Peter pass. He again missed target by inches in the 65th minute. Two minutes later, Dhanu Thapa's free kick for Far-west sailed inches above the bar.
Jhapa coach Sanjay Rai said that his team witnessed comfortable victory due to poor midfield of the opponent team and vowed to come up with different strategy in the semifinal fixture.
Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club will take on New Road Team on Tuesday.
Long-term initiation for tournament
The organizing committee of Jhapa Gold Cup has taken initiation for sustaining the tournament in the long run. The tournament is being organized by Jhapa District Football Association. The committee has started to distribute founder membership to interested individuals, according to Mahendra Kumar Giri, the president of the organizing committee.
The minimum fee for founder membership is fixed at Rs 21,000. More than 100 individuals have taken founder membership so far. According to Giri, the committee has concluded that the tournament cannot sustain in the long run if it is to depend on donations for running tournament each year. Thus they were aiming to end the dependency on donations to run the tournament from next editions.