Hetauda, January 7, 2017:Â Tribhuvan Army Club (TAC) staged a remarkable comeback to crush Vijay Youth Club of Hetauda 4-1 in the semi-final of the second Hetauda Gold Cup football tournament on Friday.
Vijay Youth were leading 1-0 with an 80th minute strike from Ajayi Martins Kayode and had their one foot in the final but in what seemed a complete turnaround of fortune, striker Nawayug Shrestha pulled his sideÂ from the jaws of defeat scoring an equaliser with 16 seconds left on the clock to force the extra time.
The national team striker then set up two more goals in 20 minutes of extra time as Bharat Khawas, Hiranya Magar and Dip Lama struck to give their side a stunning victory. TAC will meet defending champions Manang Marshyangdi Club in the final on Saturday.
After a goalless first half, Kayode put the local side ahead heading home a freekick from Sujit Budhathoki. Vijay Youth dugout was preparing to celebrate when Shrestha came up with an equaliser in the third minute of added-on time heading a freekick from Sunil Pandey.
What unfolded in the 20-minute extra time left Vijay Youth stunned. TAC went ahead in the 91st minute through Khawas after Shrestha dodged three Vijay Youth defenders to feed his striking partner inside the area. Magar then double the lead in the 94th minute with another header on a cross from Khawas.
Lama completed the rout in the 106th minute with Shrestha once again setting up for the goal. The goal margin could have been even bigger had not Vijay Youth goalkeeper made a string of saves.
TAC coach Nabin Neupane said his side was able to take full advantage of fitness level of his players. â€œWe played sensibly after conceding the first goal and the opponents looked tired in the extra time which helped our players to gain upper hand,â€ said Neupane.
TAC will have less preparation time for Saturdayâ€™s final and Neupane said his boys will give everything to win the title. â€œWe are playing the final in less than 24 hours after the completion of the semi-final. Our boys will have less recovery time but we will give our best,â€ added the coach.
Losing coach Subin Ghimire said his team ran out of luck. â€œIts unfortunate that we conceded goal in the last seconds of the game. Few of our key players were suffering with injury and that didnâ€™t help us to play with same speed in the extra time. We went close against a strong team but they (TAC) played their real game in the extra time,â€ said Ghimire.
ByÂ Pratap Bista