CHANDRANIGAHAPUR: Three-time defending champions Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club inched closer to their fourth title with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Kailali in the 14th National Ncell Women’s Football Championship semi-finals today.
Kailali did well to defend APF until 45 minutes but once skipper Jamuna Gurung put her team ahead in the first minute of the first-half added on time, the departmental team began to dominate. Anu Lama, Pramila Rai notched one each after the break, while Jamuna completed a brace scoring another in the dying moments of the game.
APF came into the match as the sixth National Games champions with a majority of the team members from the national team squad. However, Kailali never let APF settle down for the first 45 minutes with their solid defense and fine work from goalkeeper Rita Chaudhary. Jamuna had the first chance in the fourth minute when she was set by Anu inside the area only for the skipper to give up the chase.
APF celebrated in the 16th minute when Anu managed to tap in a rebound from Rita after the Kailali shot-stopper had blocked Pramila’s 20-yard shot but the linesman had already raised the flag. Rita once again displayed her best, first blocking Pramila’s long-range shot and denying Anu in a rebound from the goalline.
Kailali resistance was broken at the stroke of the half time with Jamuna taking advantage of a defensive lapse from skipper Nisha Bohara. Nisha lost her control of a high ball outside the edge and Jamuna sprinted to forward to shoot past Rita. Jamuna was close to double the lead five minutes after resumption but Rita foiled her powerful close range shot.
It was rather Anu who doubled APF’s lead with Kailali defenders once again making mistake. Kailali defenders gave possession to Anu at the edge of the area in the 52nd minute and Rita had no time to stop Anu’s shot. Five minutes later, Pramila put APF in a driving seat taking a cross from Tulasha Singh and rounding up one Kailali defender to fire home.
Jamuna put the issue beyond doubt with eight minutes to go through a fine work from Sajana Rana. Sajana’s tricky pass out from the area found Jamuna who made a cool finish to seal the APF victory. Busy defending at their own half, Kailali rarely threatened APF goal and were not able to cash in on few moves they created.
APF coach Milan Rai said Kailali made their life difficult in the first half. “They were playing a destructive game which made did not allow our players to settle down. But once we managed to take the lead, our game improved,” said Rai. The coach added: “We will be more improved side against whoever we get in the final.”
Kailali coach Gopal Prasad Chaudhary said his side failed to recover after conceding the opening goal due to their own blunder. “APF, no doubt, is a strong side but we did well for a long time. But after the first goal we couldn’t recover,” said the coach.
With the victory, APF have set an all-departmental team final of the championship. They will take against the winner of Thursday’s second semi-final match between Tribhuvan Army Club and Nepal Police Club.