Players of Narayanganj FC (red) of Bangladesh and CMG Club Sankata in action during their quarterfinal match of the 15th Aaha-Rara Gold Cup Football Tournament at the Pokhara Stadium in Kaski, Pokhara on Tuesday.
POKHARA, Jan 24: CMG Club Sankata advanced into the semifinal of Aaha-Rara Gold Cup Football Tournament on Tuesday defeating Narayanganj FC of Bangladesh 2-0 at the Pokhara Stadium in Pokhara, Kaski.
Despite dominant performance from starting, Sankata had to wait until second half to break the deadlock. Former Nepali international Nirajan Khadka achieved the target eight minutes after the break in a short header pass set by African Koara Larba Florent off Bishwas Shrestha corner.
Sankata ensured the victory in the first minute of the four minutes stoppage time through Bishwas Shrestha. He netted from the danger zone collecting a pass of Bishwa Adhikari. African player Lowal Afeez of Sankata was declared the man-of-the-match.
Sankata will now lock horns against Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club in its next match for a place in the final.
Narayanganj, last hour replacement of Farashganj SC of Bangladesh, was forced for the first round exit from tournament after it failed to utilize some scoring chances. Narayanganj which arrived in Pokhara only on Monday was denied of scoring chance after Sankata goalie Binay Shrestha punched Rajon Mioh strike to safety.
The visiting side squandered yet another scoring chance in the first half injury time after Tony Barmon scorcher in Md Rony sailed high above the bar. Simiarly, Tony's far post strike in the 65th minute went off the target.
Narayanganj, which had visited Pokhara for the first time, pointed out late arrival as the reason for the team's first round exit. “We arrived very late and did not get adequate time even to take rest,” Narayanganj manager Saiful Islam said. “We even didn't have single training session. The players were exhausted after long travel. The team came under more pressure after the first choice goalkeeper sustained injury in the match.”
The visiting team's first choice goalie was replaced in the 18th minute after he collide with a Sankata player.
He also claimed that his side was A division team of Bangladesh. He further informed that the team was studded with four Bangladeshi international out of which three played in Pokhara. “We knew in late moment that we will be playing here (Pokhara),” Islam said.
According to the host Sahara Club, Narayanganj came as replacement of Farashganj SC of the same team after it withdrew participation in the last moment.
Despite the win, Sankata came up with comparatively weak performance. Sankata, which featured in the third and 12th editions of the tournament had crashed out from quarterfinals to MMC on both occasions. Sankata was defeated with identical score of 2-0 on those matches.
Sankata coach Salyan Khadgi said that his team played under pressure after it failed to score in the first half. “We played under pressure in the second half after we couldn't score before the break. The visiting side is also a strong team and we hadn't under-rated them,” he said adding that a wise coach should never take opponent as weak.