By Rup Narayan Dhakal—Pokhara: Hosts Sahara Club outplayed Tribhuvan Army Club (TAC) 4-3 in penalty shootout to advance into final of 15th Aaha Rara Football Tournament in Pokhara Stadium today.
Sushan Gurung, Shiva Subedi, Pradip Gurung and captain Uttam Gurung converted their kick into a goal for Sahara but Laxman GC hit above the cross bar. Similarly, TAC’s Jitendra Karki, Santosh Tamang and Dip Lama scored each for their team but Dipak Gurung hit wide and goalie Bikesh Kuthu’s try was saved by rival gloves-man Sujit Gurung who later was announced as man of the match.
The decision was taken from spot kicks as added 30 minutes extra time was also remained scoreless as regulation 90 minutes saw no goal from both the sides. Sahara on Saturday will take on the winner of last semifinal that is played between Laxmi Hundai Manang Marshyangdi Club and CMG Sankata Club tomorrow.
Sahara took his former strategy of defensive play to check the armymen in the regulation and extra time. Coach Kiran Shrestha said that his boys played taking no risk against army which according to Shrestha is a tough team. Rival coach Nabin Neupane said that his team missed so many goal opportunities. According to him, rival players occupied striking area of Army that foiled the rhythm of his team in second half.
Referee Sudhish Kumar Pandey showed red card to Sahara player Bobby Ogolla Odongo as he hit rival captain Bharat Khawas in the last minutes of extra time. Sahara which is going to play final in third time also had met TAC in 2013 and last year in semifinals of Aaha Rara.