KATHMANDU, April 23: Dinesh Karki´s match decider against Machhindra Football Club helped Yeti Airlines Himalayan Sherpa Club to book semifinal ticket on Monday in the British Gorkha Cup Football Tournament being held at the Dasharath Stadium, Kathmandu.
Karki, the scorer of the lone goal against Jawalakhel Youth Club in the team´s previous match, scored the match winner against Machhindra 12 minutes from time to fix semifinal meeting with Three Star Club.
Karki easily made a free shot from the close range in a short pass from Jas Bahadur Rai to send the ball past custodian Dinesh Thapa Magar. Rai had seized the ball from defender Subham Shrestha after he fell down in the area while trying to clear the ball.
Sherpa coach Nawal Gurung said that luck favored his team on the day. "The performance was mixed one, but we were a bit lucky," said Gurung.
In the lackluster affair, both the teams failed to make any remarkable attempts on post and Sherpa achieved the target in the very first post attempt. Machhindra, studded with eight former players of Jawalakhel succeeded in making just a couple of attacks on post.
Deepak Rai of Machhindra, new signing from Sherpa, saw his powerful 30-yard post attempt sail inches above bar during the stoppage time of first half. Sherpa goalie Binaya Shrestha denied Bishal Rai A (jersey no 9) feeble shot from the box.
Earlier, both the teams put up technical show and came up with short passes. Machhindra seemed to dominate ball possession but was unlucky to get past Sherpa´s defenders.
Rupesh KC of Sherpa was declared the man-of-the-match.
"I had told the boys to enjoy the match and play pressure free game because the match could be our last one in the tournament," Gurung, holder of British passport said during the post match conference.
"We have got young players in the squad and we are taking the tournament as match experience. I take football in a different way and to play against Three Star in the next match is a privilege. We will not change our playing style against Three Star," Gurung said.
Gurung´s counterpart Diken Suwal of Machhindra blamed lack of fitness of his players for the defeat. "The result was different from my expectation and players looked unfit," Suwal said adding, "Our players trained only for four days after I took charge of the club four days ago."
"Our midfield failed to do their job and there was no movement of players while the opponent´s midfield fulfilled their duty properly," said Suwal.
Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) will take on Friends Club in the last quarterfinal match to be played on Tuesday.
British Gorkha Cup semis, final under floodlights
KATHMANDU: All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) has decided to conduct the semifinal and final matches of the ongoing British Gorkha Cup under floodlights. The semifinals will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, while the final will be played on Saturday.
Lalit Krishna Shrestha, ANFA vice-president and tournament coordinator of British Gorkha Cup, said on Monday that the matches are likely to begin at 5:30 pm or 5:45 pm.
"We have got all the necessary infrastructure for conducting the matches under floodlights," Shrestha said, adding, "Matches under floodlights will help create a friendly environment for football and will also attract spectators."