PANCHTHAR, Dec 25: Armed Police Force (APF) crashed out of the ongoing 9th Falgunanda Gold Cup Football Tournament, facing a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Sunsari XI on Sunday.
With two free-kick goals from Nepal’s national team member Hemanta Thapa Magar, Sunsari XI stunned the strong departmental opponent in the first quarterfinal match of the tournament being held at Phidim’s Tundikhel ground in eastern Panchthar district.
Sunsari will now face the winner between Agni Rupandehi XI and an Indian side, UKFC Club, in the semifinal encounter.
‘A’ Division side APF was given direct entry into the quarterfinals of the tournament, while Sunsari had overcome Kathmandu-based Boys Union Club to book its place in the last eight.
Despite dominating the match and creating plenty of chances, APF failed to produce any goal. Sunsari had strong conversion with Magar scoring two goals from free-kicks while Tirtha Basnet added another for the winning side, scoring through a close-range effort.
Magar scored an opening goal in the 27th minute to keep his team on the driving seat. The referee had provided Magar a free-kick opportunity after he was fouled in danger zone. Magar didn’t miss the opportunity to beat APF’s goalie Amrit Chaudhary.
Seven minutes later, Magar doubled the tally by 2-0, scoring another curling free-kick goal. Tirtha Basent made 3-0 in the 51st minute, scoring a brilliant header goal utilizing the cross from Bishnu Sunuwar.
APF’s head coach Ratna Kaji Maharjan rued on missing several goal scoring opportunities. “We controlled the match but poor conversion became major reason behind our exit from the tournament. Conceding an early goal also brought my players under pressure,” Maharjan said.
Meanwhile, Sunsari’s head coach Shyam Manandhar praised his players for beating comparatively strong side. “Given the top players of the opponent, our strategy was to play defensively. We created some chances and utilized them. My players did well. Beating such strong opponent has further boosted their confidence,” Manandhar said.
Magar, who scored a brace, was declared man-of-the-match and was given cash prize of Rs 10,000.
In the second quarterfinal of the tournament on Monday, host Phidim Sporting Club will take on Birta United Club of Jhapa.
The champion of the tournament will win a purse of Rs 300,000 where as the runner-up will be given Rs 200,000.