Police, Friends into quarterfinals


KATHMANDU, Dec 29: Nepal Police Club (NPC) and NIBL Friends Club advanced into the quarterfinals of the ongoing British Gurkha Cup on Tuesday as the winners and the runners up from group ´A´.

NPC on Tuesday defeated Jawalakhel Youth Club 2-0 to send them out of the tournament and Friends eased past Eastern Region 5-1 in the matches held at the Dasharath Stadium.

With the win NPC maintained their cent percent record and accumulated full nine points from three matches while Friends finished the group stage with six points winning two out of three matches. They had lost 5-1 to NPC on Sunday. Jawalakhel with a consolation win over Eastern have added three points while Eastern were unable to open their account in the points table.

Jawalakhel which needed at least a two-goal difference victory over the police team put up a good show in the first 10 minutes but could not continue with the streak. Pradip Baniya and Chetan Ghimire scored one each for the police team which came in the ground without five of their first choice players. Pradip opened the scoring for the police team in the 19th minute from close range utilizing Chetan´s pass.

Chetan scored the second goal for the team in the 66th minute through penalty after he was taken down by Jawalakhel defender Hem Gurung inside the box.

Star striker Jumanu Rai and other regular players Dipak Paudel, Bhola Silwal, Rabin Shrestha and Suman Subedi were on bench for the police which controlled the match. They had conceded a yellow card each in the previous match. A yellow card to them in Tuesday´s match would mean they would not be able to play the quarterfinal.

NPC squandered a couple of good opportunities to score in the match. Pankaj Shahi missed a good chance from box in Chetan´s pass in the 18th minute as his strike went above the cross bar. Jawalakhel which could not make any remarkable attempts in the first half got some fine chances in the second half but failed to convert them. Duran Sherchan´s powerful strike in the pass of Vikram Lama was denied by police goalkeeper Ritesh Thapa in the second half.

Police coach Birat Krishna Shrestha said that the team already had almost reached the quarterfinals. “I gave opportunity to new players with the strategy of gaining more ball possession. However, they failed to play up to my expectations,” Birat added.

“Our strategy was either to win the match or hold the opponents to a draw but we failed in doing so,” commented Jawalakhel coach Kishor KC.

Earlier, in the first match dominated by Friends Club, Buddha Chemjong netted twice in the 66th and 75th minutes respectively. Nirajan Khadka opened the account in the 18th minute while Pukar Gahatraj and Bharat Khawas added one goal apiece in the 31st and 67th minutes respectively. Rajin Dhimal scored the consolation for Eastern Region.

Friends coach Mrigendra Mishra said that the team had aimed to win the match to qualify for the next round. “Though we scored more goals in the second half, our performance deteriorated compared to the first half,” he added, pointing to the need for improvement in the defense lineup.

Eastern coach Darshan Bhakta Raj said, though the match was meaningless for the team despite any type of result -- win or loss -- the players got exposure.

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