Thursday, May 26

Machhindra FC storm into Aaha Rara Gold Cup semis

By a Staff Reporter

Kathmandu – Machhindra Football Club stormed into the semifinals of the 20th edition of Aaha Rara Gold Cup on Monday after hammering defending champions Sankata Club 4-1 during their quarterfinal match at Pokhara Stadium.

Mesuke Olumou scored a brace while Utsav Rai and Abhishek Gurung were also on scoresheet as Machhindra FC eased past Sankata into the last-four. Ganesh Hamal scored a consolation goal for Sankata.

Sankata could have taken the lead in the seventh minute but a shot from Glory was cleared from the goalline by Omolaja Nuren Karim.

Utsav Rai scored a goal in the 13th minute to give Machhindra the lead. Abhiyan Pradhan snatched a ball from Jaya Gurung which he fed to Rai who beat a defender and scored from the penalty box. The ball entered the net after hitting the pole.

Sankata missed a chance to equalize in the 29th minute when a shot from Fode Fofana hit the bar and went out.

Mesuke Olumou doubled Machhindra’s lead in the 47th minute in a pass from Abhishek Rijal.

Sankata cut the deficit to 2-1 as substitute Gamesh Hamal scored a goal in the 63rd minute. He had entered the field in place of Jaya Gurung after the break.

Substitute forward Abhishek Gurung helped Machhindra make the score 3-1 in the 84th miknute. He scored a rebound after Sankata goalkeeper Raja Babu Thapa saved a free-kick from Karim which Machhindra had earned after Amit Tamang upended Rejin Dhimal.

Two minutes later, Mesuke killed the game with another goal to give Machhindra an unassailable lead of 4-1 with few minutes remaining.

Machhindra will now face APF in Wednesday’s semifinal to secure a place in the final. APF had secured a place in the semifinal after defeating Bhutanese Youth Sports Club 3-1 on Saturday.

Tribhuvan Army Football Club will lock horns with Three Star Club in the last quarterfinal match on Tuesday. The winner of the match will face Manang Marshyangdi Club in the semis.

A total of 10 teams including 8 from the A Division League have been registered for the Aaha Rara Gold Cup. The winner of the tournament will bag a purse of Rs 1 million while the runnerup will receive Rs 501,000. The cost of organizing the event is expected to reach Rs 10.06 million.

The event is being organized since the last 21 years. The surplus amount collected from the tournament will be provided to the Surya Bahadur Memorial Sahara Football Academy. The academy is currently training the third batch of 24 children from 14 different district. The children have been receiving training, education and health facilities free of cost since the last eight years.

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