Karna Limbu (R) of Jhapa-XI vying for the ball with a player of Himalayan Sherpa Club in the Rumpum Jhapa Gold Cup football tournament in Birtamod, Jhapa on Friday.
BIRTAMOD, Feb 3: Karna Limbu-inspired Jhapa XI made it to the final of the Rumpum Jhapa Gold Cup football tournament on Friday with a 4-0 rout of Himalayan Sherpa Club at the Domalal Stadium in Birtamod, Jhapa.
The star striker Karna netted twice for the home team while Buddha Chemjong and Khamir Gilson Kandangwa also achieved target. Jhapa, the runner up of last edition, will meet the winner of second semifinal to be held between Tribhuvan Army Club and Manang Marshyangdi Club in the final scheduled for Monday. Coincidentally, Jhapa had lost to Army in the final of the last edition.
Jhapa, backed by roaring home crowd, went into break with a one-goal cushion and netted three goals in the second half. Karna, also the man-of-the-match, put the home team in driving seat in the 28th minute. He headed home a long pass of Rajin Dhimal to energize the noisy home crowd.
The diminutive forward Karna doubled the tally in the 79th minute from the zone collecting a pass of Buddha, who made it 3-0 for the home team three minutes from time in a pass set by Dilen Loktan. Khamir, the stoppage time substitute for Jhapa, sealed the empathetic win in the fading moments.
He fired home from the edge of zone at the far post after collecting Pujan Uparkoti pass.
Jhapa coach Sanjan Rai credited the comprehensive win to hard effort of his players. “We got the positive results after players gave cent percent effort. There were weaknesses in our midfield and we need to overcome them in the final match,” he said.
Earlier, Jhapa skipper Nagendra Limbu squandered scoring chance in the early sixth minute after he hit off the target from close range. Sanjog Rai also faced similar fate in the 22nd minute from long range.
Visiting Himalayan Sherpa could not materialize its effort to level the score after Bishwas Shrestha's scorcher rebounded off the woodwork. In the 70th minute, Jhapa goalie punched Nishan Limbu's header to safety.
It was the second meeting between the two sides which saw Jhapa win both matches. A couple of months earlier in Kakarbhitta of the same district, Jhapa had registered a 4-3 win in tiebreaker over the same opponent.
Himalayan Sherpa coach Bikash Gauchan pointed out lack of coordination among his players as the reason for the defeat. “It is a newly set team and the team needs to train for longer time for good understanding and coordination,” he said adding that conceding the early goal put his team under pressure.
The man-of-the-match Karna was rewarded Rs 7000 for his feat.
The second semifinal between MMC and Army will be played on Saturday.