POKHARA, Nov 8: Machhindra Club fixed the final date with Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) in the Safal Pokhara Cup Football Tournament on Thursday following an extra time 3-1 win over Yeti Airlines Himalayan Sherpa Club in the second semifinal at the Pokhara Stadium in Pokhara, Kaski.
Karna Limbu starred for Machhindra scoring twin goals. Limbu cancelled Sherpa´s lead taken through Ganesh Khadka five minutes before the end of regulation time and made it 2-1 in the fourth minute of added half an hour after a 1-1 tie during the regulation time.
Skipper Deepak Rai who had earlier missed penalty during the second half of the regulation time amended his mistake with the third goal which ensured the team´s victory.
Sherpa got limited to 10-man in the last five minutes of the match after Ganesh Khadka was given marching orders for second yellow card in the 115th minute.
Limbu struck the equalizer for Machhindra in the 85th minute after he got rebounder from Sherpa goalie Binay Shrestha off Subham Shrestha strike. Subham, replacement of Saurav Magar three minutes before the goal, had utilized Prabesh Katuwal´s corner.
Earlier, Khadka had led Sherpa ahead in the 69th minute with a magnificent volley in Dinesh Karki´s cross. Seven minutes before that, Rai had missed the penalty awarded to Machhindra after Sachindra Dhimal handed the ball in the area.
Sherpa coach Meghraj KC was full of praise for Khadka´s goal. "Such a goal happens once in 10 years," said KC, who lamented on the team´s defeat despite hard efforts from the players.
Limbu declared the man-of-the-match scored second goal for Machhindra in the 94th minute in a cross from Bishal Rai A. Skipper Rai killed the match in the 116th minute again in a pass from Bishal Rai A.
Sherpa created fewer chances in comparison to Machhindra which created numerous attractive chances. A Anthony hit off the target in the 25th minute in pass from O Benjamin.
"We had only 20 percent of ball possession during the first half. There were some improvements in the second half but we failed to win," said Sherpa coach KC during the post match conference.
KC also lauded Machhindra´s performance. "Machhindra players were better and kept us under pressure from the beginning and able to get results in their favor," Said KC adding, "It was our weakness that we failed to maintain our lead. However, I am satisfied with the players´ performance."
Machhindra created chances from the beginning but failed to convert them. Limbu and Laxmi Narayan Shrestha failed to achieve the target after simultaneous attacks in the 13th minute. Rai A´s powerful strike in the 17th minute was punched to safety by glovesman Shrestha. Skipper Rai and Limbu missed a chance each in the first half as well.
"Despite wasting numerous scoring chances we kept the opponents under consistent pressure and I was confident of beating them," NRT coach Raju Shakya said. Machhindra will play the final against MMC on Saturday.