PANCHTHAR, Jan 15: Jhapa XI has won its first title of the season by clinching the 10th Ruslan Falgunanda Gold Cup football tournament, defeating departmental team Tribhuvan Army Club 2-1 in Phidim on Monday.
With the title win, Jhapa was rewarded with Rs 400,000, while runner-up Army has received a cash prize of Rs 200,000.
Army lost the game failing to convert the chances it created. Excited with the title win, Jhapa head coach Prabesh Katuwal said the experience of the players and the implementation of tactics got victory for the team.
In a competitive final clash, two goals from Pujan Uperkoti helped Jhapa lift the title. Jhapa took an early lead in the 23rd minute as the Army defense line failed to clear the ball.
Both the teams kept on creating chances to score, but as Jhapa already scored the opening goal within the first half-hour, the Army players got under pressure.
The match became very exciting as Jhapa played with a style of short passing, while Army looked to break the Jhapa defense line with long passes.
Army got back into the game as Rajeev Gurung hit a shot from outside the box. The ball hit the post and crossed the goalline for the Army equalizer in the 71st minute.
Both the teams started playing attacking football after the score was 1-1 and created several chances.
Uperkoti gave Jhapa the lead again in the 73rd minute because of another defensive mishap from Army, but this time it was from a corner. Army keeper Bibash Chaudhary punched the ball away, but as his defense failed to clear the ball, Uperkoti utilized the chance and scored a good poacher goal.
Army goal scorer Gurung was adjudged the man of the match despite his side’s loss.
Jhapa defender Devendra Tamang was named the best player of the tournament and received a Yamaha motorbike, while Jhapa captain Karna Limbu won the highest goal scorer award with four goals.
Jhapa’s Manoj Pradhan, Uperkoti, Dilen Loktam and Katuwal won the best goalkeeper, the best midfielder, the best forward and the best coach awards, while Army’s Yuddha Shahi got the best defender trophy. Prabin Jabegu of the host team was named the rising player of the tournament.
A total of 10 teams took part in the tournament including the other departmental team Armed Police Force (APF) Club, Saraswati Youth Club, Boys Union Club, India’s Royal Football Club Darjeeling, Sunsari XI, Morang XI, Karna Singh Sonam Memorial Club, and the host Phidim Sporting Club.