7th Aaha Gold Cup: NPC beat Belgharia, enter final

POKHARA, Feb 4 - Despite an ordinary performance, defending champion Nepal Police Club secured a place in the final of the Aaha Gold Cup. Police ended Belghariya Sporting Club Kolkata's challenge 1-0 here on Wednesday.

Backed by a huge crowd, Jumanu Rai scored the lone goal in the 16th minute for the home team. Man-of-the-match Rai made the most of the opportunity when the opponent keeper Supriyo Kar charged ahead leaving the post wide-open.

Police missed many chances to extend the lead as the players failed to finish off good moves in the midfield. Belghariya had Police under pressure at the start and end of the match. Their Nigerian player Abram came out attacking in the third minute. Keeper Ritesh Thapa dived to save the goal Abram had shot form the D-Box.

Defender Parbat Pandey 's tackle didn't give Belgharia any chance to net the equaliser. Police will miss Pandey in the final who was shown a yellow card on Wednesday to add the one against the Three Star in the previous match.

Police were recharged after their first goal, but failed to convert any of the numerous opportunities that came their way. Chetan Adhikari missed one-on-one chance with the keeper in the 20th minute. Jumanu received ample passes form the midfield in the first half, but they dried up in the second. Lack of coordination among players hindered Police from adding another goal.

Robin Shrestha's free-kick in the 71st minute was punched away by Kar. Despite the win Police coach Birat Shrestha was not happy with his players' performance. "We performed only 25 percent of our capacity," Shrestha said.

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