DHARAN, Feb 10: Annapurna Ranipokhari Corner Team (RCT) advanced to the final of the 12th International Tuborg Budha Subba Gold Cup Invitational Football Tournament defeating the hosts Dharan FC 4-1 in a tie-breaker on Wednesday.
The outcome of the match was decided by tiebreaker as the regular time of the match with 15 minutes of added time ended in a goalless draw. Krishna Kunwar, Santosh Gurung, Deepak Rai and Uttam Gurung scored for RCT in the tiebreaker while Raju Rai was the lone scorer for the hosts.
Hundreds of fans at the home ground were disheartened as the four-time winners Dharan crashed out after Bishnu Sunar and Yogesh Rai failed to score. RCT´s custodian Dilip Chhetri, who was later adjudged man-of-the-match, blocked both the shots to disappoint the hosts.
Dharan had a good opportunity to seal victory in the added time but Sudeep Limbu failed to convert a one-versus-one opportunity. Sudeep got the ball in the box as RCT´s defender tried to clear a powerful shot from Dharan´s Raju in the 1st minute of the added time.
Two minutes later, RCT´s Rishi Rai´s shot hit the bar and bounced back. Deepak Rai headed the deflected ball toward the post but Dharan´s goalkeeper Padmahang Limbu punched the ball. Both the teams missed about half a dozen opportunities to score.
Dharan´s manager Sachin Rai said it was their bad luck that Sudeep couldn´t convert in the extra time. “Our players had played well but luck didn´t favor us,” he said.
Meanwhile, RCT´s coach Madhu Karki said they won because their players were determined to win. “We couldn´t score during the regular time but our players were confident enough to win,” he said.
Thursday´s second semifinal will be held between Nepal Police Club and Himalayan Sherpa Club at the Dharan Stadium. The winners of the match will face RCT in the final match on Saturday.