November 20, 2016 10:00 PM NPT
JHAPA, Nov 20: Deepak Rai netted twice for Rupandehi XI as it stunned departmental giant Tribhuvan Army Club 2-1 to book semifinal spot in the Sahara Surunga Gold Cup on Sunday played in Surunga, Jhapa.
The star-studded departmental team, also the champion of the last edition of Jhapa Gold Cup, was sent home packing from the very first match after its numerous attempts on goal were unsuccessful.
Army resorted to attacking game since the onset, but the stubborn defending line up of Rupandehi foiled Army's attempt and kept the departmental team at bay.
Rupandehi broke the deadlock in the 35th minute stunning Army. Deepak Rai found the back of the net after exchanging one-to-one passes with Nepali international Rajin Dhimal before firing past goalie Bikesh Kutu.
Deepak doubled the advantage seven minutes after the break to steer the team closer to victory. He was later declared the man-of-the-match.
Army's effort to bounce back in the match was rewarded in the 79th minute after strike Bharat Khawas cut the goal deficit. However, Army's attacking line up consisting of two Nepali internationals Bharat Khawas and Nawayug Shrestha failed to deliver another goal.
Army made several dangerous moves in the second half but could not make a deserving finish. The departmental team was awarded with four freekicks ahead of the 18-yard box but failed to capitalize on them.
Jhapa XI will take on Armed Police Force on Monday.
The tournament that kicked off on Sunday saw another departmental team Nepal Police Club thump host Surunga XI 4-0 in the inaugural match played at the same venue.
The fourth edition of the tournament is organized by Surunga Jaycees and sponsored by Sahara Nepal. The winner of the tournament featuring eight A-Division teams will bag purse of Rs 351,111 and the runner-up will get rich by Rs 251,111.