POKHARA, Feb 6: Samsung Jawalakhel Youth Club struck twice in extra time to storm into the semifinals of the 10th Aaha Gold Cup Football Tournament on Monday defeating arch rival Mega Three Star Club 3-1 at the Pokhara stadium in Pokhara, Kaski.
The match was decided in the added 30 minutes after the regulation 90 minutes of play ended in a 1-1 stalemate. Jawalakhel will now take on Pune FC in the semifinal on Wednesday.
Bishal Rai B (Jersey No 9) opened the scoring for Jawalakhel in the regulation time, while Bishal Rai A (Jersey No 10) and Bikram Limbu added two more during the added time. Bikram Lama scored the only goal for Three Star to take the match to added time.
Bishal Rai B put Jawalakhel in front in the 76th minute, five minutes after replacing Prabin Karki, in Bishal Tamang´s pass.
However, Jawalakhel soon conceded the equalizer as Bikram Lama of Three Star headed home from 30 yards in a free-kick taken by Anil Ojha. Three Star was awarded with the free-kick after Suraj Thing brought down Anil Ojha.
Bishal Rai A, who was adjudged the man-of the-match, restored Jawalakhel´s lead in the ninth minute of added time through a spot-kick. Jawalakhel was awarded the penalty after Ojha brought down Jawalakhel´s Limbu inside the box. Bikram Limbu then sealed the victory in the 18th minute of added time through a free-kick. The free-kick was awarded after Three Star defender Bishnu Sunuwar fouled Bishal Tamang.
Jawalakhel dominated the show and ball possession from the beginning, but both sides squandered some beautiful scoring opportunities. Three Star missed scoring chances in the 57th, 65th and 94th minutes. Jawalakhel missed scoring chances in the 40th, 59th, 82nd and 89th minutes.
Three Star´s captain Bishan Gauchan opined that his side lost due to the absence of the coach and some key players of the squad. "We were all at home after the completion of the National League and had not prepared for the tournament," Gauchan said, adding, "The coach and three key players were also absent. In the beginning there was no coordination among the players and we were exhausted during the later stage."
Three players of Three Star -- goalie Kiran Chemjong and defenders Biraj Maharjan and Bikash Singh Chhetri -- are in the national team´s training for the AFC Challenge Cup, while its coach Meghraj KC, also the assistant coach of national team, is busy with the national team.
Jawalakhel´s coach Kishor KC said that the match was a challenge for his side and they succeeded to overcome it. During their previous encounter in the National League, Jawalakhel had defeated Three Star 1-0 at the same venue. "To register victory over Three Star for the second time in a row is a great achievement for the team," excited KC said.
"We were able to take advantage of the [Three Star] coach´s absence and low fitness level of opponents as they haven´t prepared for the event," said KC, who expressed satisfaction toward his team´s performance. He also vowed to put up a better show in the semifinal match against I-League side Pune FC.
Nepal Police Club will play against Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club on Tuesday.