KATHMANDU, April 24: Nepal Police Club retained their seven-point lead at the top of the table defeating departmental rivals Armed Police Force (APF) 3-1 on Saturday during the Martyrs Memorial San Miguel A Division League Football at the Dasharath Stadium.
In another match, Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) had to toil hard to earn a point against the bottom hit Boys Union Club (BUC) as MMC managed to level the match 2-2 three minutes before time.
Following the results, the title hope of Police has strengthened as they have added 38 points in their kitty after the completion of round 16 of the league. Second to fourth placed Three Star, Army Club and New Road Team have 31 points apiece.
APF and Boys Union remained unchanged in 10th and last spot with 12 and nine points respectively.
Chetan Ghimire scored twice for Police to give continuity to their undefeated run in the league while substitute Ramesh Budhathoki added another to seal their victory over APF. Niraj Shrestha pulled one back for APF.
Ghimire gave an early second minute lead to Police from a close range in a cross of Jumanu Rai and doubled the advantage in the 26th minute to score his seventh league goal. He netted the second goal in a pass set by Rai from a close range.
Stubborn defending line up and goalie Ritesh Thapa remained the major obstacles for APF´s attempt to fight back in the second half. However, Shrestha of APF pulled one back in the 70th minute pouring cold water over his team´s hope after his shot deflected hitting Police´s Rabin Shrestha´s foot before rolling to the back of the net. Budhathoki killed the match in the 75th minute in a pass of Rai.
Delighted with the win, Police coach Birat Krishna Shrestha said that his side had more possibility of winning the league than any other side. “We have 60 percent chance of winning the league whereas others have 40 percent,” Shrestha said.
APF manager Prem Shrestha said that their team had the fear of relegation from the first match of the league. “Our boys are not playing well and we are in a do or die situation,” he added.
In another match, MMC came from behind twice to rescue a point from Boys Union Club. Second half goals from Oh Such Hawn and Tashi Tshiring helped MMC cancel Tanka Basnet´s and Rupesh Chhetri´s goals for Boys Union Club.
Basnet put Boys Union ahead in the 27th minute but Korean striker for MMC Hawn equalized the match in the 73rd minute. But Boys Union restored their lead one minute later as Rupesh Chhetri netted in the 74th minute. Skipper Tshiring leveled the match three minutes before time.