Dauphins defeated Nepal Police Club 2-1 to advance to the semi-finals of the 17th Aaha Rara Gold Cup Football Tournament here at the Pokhara Stadium grounds today.
Ndemba Owona scored the winning goal in extra time after both the teams were deadlocked at 1-1 in the regulation period of 90 minutes. Owono found the back of the nets in the fifth minute of the extra time after he slotted home from the penalty box.
Dauphins beat NPC for the second time inside 24 hours. They had beaten the departmental side in the final of the 21st Tilottama Gold Cup in Butwal yesterday for the third title in their maiden visit.
Earlier, Dauphins took the lead in the 37th minute through Biyik Biyik Andre Thierry, who headed home following a corner kick from Ahanda Essah Aloys. NPC had to wait until the third minute of the injury time to score the equaliser. At a time when the match was heading towards the end, NPC skipper Suman Subedi found the back of the nets to push the match to extra time.
NPC, who began the mofussil campaign by winning the biggest knockout tournament, the Nepal Ice Khaptad Farwest Gold Cup in Dhangadhi, were reduced to 10 men in the injury time of the extra time after Hari Kathayet was expelled for attacking Aurelien Innocent Oko Bota.
Dauphins, who have already won the Manakamana Cable Car Pokhara Cup and Budha Subba Red Bull Gold Cup titles, will face Tribhuvan Army Club for a place in the final.
NPC coach Ananta Thapa rued the missed opportunities and said his players were tired of the overnight travel from Butwal. “We travelled throughout the night and the players were tired. We missed a couple of scoring chances in the regulation period and the referee also played a part by not punishing Dauphins players,” said the former national team midfielder. “We played technical game, while they came up with rough and power game,” added Thapa.
On Wednesday, Ruslan Three Star Club will play against Nepal APF Club in the first semi-final match.