AFC President's Cup Qualifier: Do or Die match for police

Kathmandu, May 16 - Nepal Police were handed defeat at the hands of a team that was underrated by the police. NPC squandered its early lead to allow Taiwan Power Company to take the crucial three points. With the defeat police are now at the bottom of the table, while WAPDA Pakistan and Tazak Regar Tadaz shared a point each to be placed joint second. Only the winners of the qualifier can go through to the final round of the President´s cup the easy way. The runners up will have to wait for results from other groups as only one best runner-up among all the groups will make it to the final four.

Police captain and midfielder Ananta Thapa said before Thursday´s defeat that unity was his team´s strength. “We have a team that has played together for a long time. We have psychological edge over other teams as we have an undefeated record against our opponents in the tournament. We have a strong midfield that can win us the tournament.” However, 24 hours later, the policemen received a reality check as the midfielders could not live up to their expectations. Lapses from goalie Ritesh Thapa and national side captain Rakesh Shrestha cost the team dear. Police even failed to make an impression in the set pieces. Nepal´s trump card Jumanu Rai too failed give impressive performance.

WAPDA Pakistan will be on a high note after denying the two time President´s cup champions Regar Tadaz not only a single but a win as well. WAPDA coach said “Obviously we wanted to win but our plan B was to salvage a draw.” He also said that his team had come with a better preparation this time around and were in contention for the title. WAPDA has a strong lineup that includes top players from the Pakistan football league. Their goalie, Abdul Aziz, was awarded “goalkeeper of the year” in 2008. Forward Arif Mohammad boasts an achievement that can make any footballer proud. He has been the top scorer in the Pakistan Premiere League three times. WAPDA and NPC last met in June of 2008 during the fourth edition of the AFC president´s Cup where a late Jumanu Rai equalizer in the 89th minute sent WAPDA home while police advanced into the semis only to lose out to Dordoi Dynamo of Kyrgyzstan 3-1.

NPC´s loss today will end their title hopes while a win for WAPDA will put them in a strong position. WAPDA will have the upper hand as they successfully denied Tadaz a victory. Nepali fans will have great expectations from ace striker Jumanu Rai. But Rai still has problems playing air balls and is wary when chesting the ball.

Chetan Ghimire, who played an impressive match against TPC and scored a goal in the match, can be a key player in the match against WAPDA. Goalie Ritesh Thapa will have to put up a better show for police´s future in the tournament.

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