Dhangadhi FC Secures Final Spot in Nepal Super League 2023
“Dhangadhi Edges Out Pokhara in Penalty Drama, Advances to Nepal Super League Final”
In a nail-biting encounter at Kathmandu’s Dasharath Stadium on Monday (25 December 2023), Dhangadhi secured their spot in the Nepal Super League final, prevailing over Pokhara Thunders 4-3 in a penalty shootout after the Qualifier 1 ended in a thrilling 2-2 draw, including extra time.
Despite Pokhara taking the lead twice with goals from Ayush Ghalan and Franklin Kuete Talla, Dhangadhi made a stunning comeback, forcing the match into penalties with a late goal from Ahmed Hijaji.
Dhangadhi, determined to avenge their previous final loss, emerged victorious in the penalty shootout. Pokhara’s Ghalan missed the crucial spot kick, sealing Dhangadhi’s second consecutive final appearance.
The first half saw Pokhara dominating with a high-pressing game, frustrating Dhangadhi. Ghalan’s early goal capitalized on a defensive lapse, but Dhangadhi goalkeeper Mohamad Taha’s exceptional saves kept his team in contention.
After a lackluster first half, Dhangadhi clawed their way back into the game with Devendra Tamang’s diving header in the 54th minute. The match remained intense, with both teams pressing for a winner, but the netkeepers stood unwavering.
Extra time brought more drama as Talla restored Pokhara’s lead, only for Hijaji to equalize in the 120th minute. Despite the setback, Pokhara remains hopeful, needing to overcome either Kathmandu or Lalitpur City in Qualifier 2 for a chance at the final.
Dhangadhi’s comeback story sets the stage for an exciting climax in the Nepal Super League.