Republica Bimal Basnet of Manang Marshyangdi Club (L) in action during the Jhapa Gold Cup football tournament match against NRT in Birtamod, Jhapa on Thursday.
BIRTAMODE, Feb 2: Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) advanced into the semifinal of the Jhapa Gold Cup football tournament on Thursday after a thumping 4-0 win over New Road Team (NRT) at the Domalal Stadium in Birtamode, Jhapa.
Nirajan Malla netted twice while Sushil Lama and African recruit Olawala O Afeez were also on target for the star-studded MMC. Rohit Chand of winning team was declared the man-of-the-match and awarded Rs 7000 for his feat. MMC will meet Tribhuvan Army Club in the second semifinal on Saturday before host Jhapa XI takes on Himalayan Sherpa Club in the first semifinal on Friday.
Title contender MMC, also the champion of the recently held Aaha-Rara Gold Cup in Pokhara, came up with half a dozen of Nepali internationals and dominated the show since the onset. NRT, promoted to A Division in the current season, resorted to defensive strategy but failed to stop MMC forwards for long time. Nirajan put MMC in the driving seat as early as in the 25th minute collecting pass set by Olawala.
Sushil doubled the advantage two minutes later again set by Olawala and MMC finished the first half with 3-0 lead after Nirajan netted his second individual goal.
MMC ensured the victory with fourth goal in the 59th minute after Olawala collected a pass set by Bishal Rai. Earlier in the 20th Sujal Shrestha's freekick sailed inches above the bar and Prabin Gurung's scorcher during half an hour mark faced similar face. A minute later, NRT goalie denied Olawale's strike.
MMC coach Tshering Lopsang said that his team had advantage of poor finishing of the capital based neighbor team. “We cannot with the semifinal with such performance and we will come up with different strategy in the upcoming match,” he said adding that the team will add striker Anil Gurung in the next match.
NRT coach Shyam Mali said that his side failed to put strong challenge because it was a new team at that level. “We had very short preparation time, thus we faced defeat against giant like MMC.”