Lalitpur City FC Lifts Nepal Super League 2023 Trophy
“Lalitpur City’s Historic Comeback Lifts First Nepal Super League Title”
In a thrilling championship showdown, Lalitpur City orchestrated a remarkable comeback to secure a 3-2 victory over Dhangadhi, clinching the coveted title in the second edition of the Nepal Super League at Kathmandu’s Dasharath Stadium on Saturday.
Dhangadhi initially took the lead with Olawale Afeez’s goal, but Lalitpur’s Imon Ezekiel stole the spotlight with two sensational goals, flanking Dinesh Henjan’s strike, propelling Lalitpur to their first franchise tournament title.
Reflecting on the triumph, Lalitpur’s Australian coach, Ian Andrew Gillan, expressed, “Tonight, we were the better team. I would like to thank everyone who has participated in this journey.”
Unfortunately for Dhangadhi, it marked their second consecutive season falling at the final hurdle, having lost to Kathmandu Rayzrs in 2021.
Despite a one-day break and the absence of key player Nikhil Sureshrao Kadam, Lalitpur exhibited resilience, outclassing a fully rested Dhangadhi. Lalitpur captain Ananta Tamang attributed the victory to their team’s strong mentality.
The game’s initial stages were dominated by Dhangadhi, who took the lead in the 38th minute through Afeez. However, Lalitpur’s aggressive response yielded results just before halftime, with Ezekiel converting a freekick to equalize.
Capitalizing on the momentum, Lalitpur extended their lead in the 50th minute through Aditya Shakya’s assist to Henjan. Ezekiel sealed the victory with an extraordinary bicycle kick in the 58th minute.
Dhangadhi’s woes increased with Richard Osei Agyemang’s 79th-minute red card, and despite a late header from Hijaji, Lalitpur emerged as the deserving champions.
Lalitpur claimed the title and a doubled cash prize of Rs7,000,000, while Dhangadhi, the runners-up, walked away with Rs2,000,000.
In a post-match statement, a disappointed Yugal Kishor Rai, Dhangadhi’s coach, expressed determination to come back stronger in the next season and bring the trophy to their fans.