Police defend title unbeaten


SOURCE: REPUBLICA

PRAJWAL OLI

KATHMANDU, June 19: The Martyrs Memorial San Miguel A Division Football League marred by match fixing controversy came to an end on Saturday with Nepal Police Club defending their title remaining unbeaten.

Continuing with their unbeaten run in the season, Police beat New Road Team (NRT) 2-1 in their last match at the Dasharath Stadium as Jumanu Rai scored for the defending champions in either half.

This is Police´s second league title under coach Birat Krishna Shrestha. They had previously won the title in 2006 after their participation in the league in 2003. Police were undefeated in their first title win too.

With the win, the Police bagged a purse of two million rupees along with trophy, medals and certificates. Playing 22 matches in the double league format, Police wrapped up the season with 50 points winning 14 and drawing eight matches.

Coach Shrestha said that his side was able to win the league due to the hard work and aggressive performance of his energetic players. “We were under pressure ahead of the league as many of our players were injured and our performance was not satisfactory in the beginning. However, we were able to win the league,” said Shrestha.

He also said that the team´s next target will be to win the AFC President´s Cup. “We have won all the titles in the nation including the league and now we will focus ourselves on the President´s Cup,” Shrestha said, adding that he was confident about winning the President´s Cup.

When asked when he will leave Police, Shrestha said, “I have resigned from the Police earlier but they did not allow me to leave and I again took charge of the team. Now I will be associated with them at least till the President´s Cup.”

Police will represent Nepal in the 2011 President´s Cup as the league winners. Police had participated in the President´s Cup for three consecutive years.

Earlier, Nabil Three Star Club defeated NIBL Friends Club 3-2 to secure second position. They finished the season with 43 points winning 12, losing three and drawing seven matches. They were awarded with a cash prize of one million rupees.

NRT with 40 points finished third and received a purse of Rs 500,000. Fourth to sixth placed Nepal Army Club, Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club and G Five Machhindra Club were awarded with a purse of Rs 300, 000, Rs 200,000 and Rs 100,000 respectively. Army also won the fair play award and received Rs 50,000.

Seventh position holders Jawalakhel were awarded with Rs 60,000 while eighth placed Friends received Rs 40,000. Ranipokhari Corner Team and APF finished ninth and tenth.
Sankata Kathmandu Mall Club and Boys Union were relegated in the 12-team contest finishing at the bottom of the table.

In the competitive match, Police striker Rai put up a brilliant performance in the 21st minute dribbling around three defenders and beating NRT goalie Surendra Shrestha to open the scoring.

Ranjit Shrestha of NRT equalized in the 65th minute with a shot from the box. Rai headed home the winner in the last minute of the match in a corner of Parbat Pandey to score his 11th league goal.

Earlier, Shayan Mosavi of NRT squandered a goal scoring chance in the 17th minute when he was denied a one-on-one with goalie Ritesh Thapa.

In a dramatic first match of the day, substitute Nishan Rai scored twice for Three Star while Vijay Gurung added another. Nirajan Khadka and Bharat Khawas netted one each for Friends.

Friends took the lead in the 43rd minute through a 35-yard powerful strike by Khadka to stun goalie Kiran Chemjong. Gurung, substituted in place of Komal Khawas in the 23rd minute, scored to level the match 1-1. But Khawas again restored the lead for Friends in the 52nd minute when goalie Chemjong dropped Pukar Gahatraj´s cross.

Rai again leveled the scoring three minutes later utilizing Vishan Gauchan´s cross. Gurung scored the decider in the 76th minute from close range.

ANFA remained silent despite the the controversy that later stage of the league was dragged into. Position wise best players´ selection also could not be free from controversy after Rohit Chand of Machhindra Club was given the best defender award.

Machhindra were defeated 8-0 in their last match against APF under Chand´s captainship. But Chand´s declaration as best defender had surprised many.

Best players in different positions were awarded with a Yamaha FZS motorbike each.

Best Players

Goalkeeper - Kiran Chemjong (Three Star)
Defender - Rohit Chand (Machhindra)
Midfielder - Parbat Pandey (Police)
Forward - Santosh Sahukhala (Three Star)
Coach - Birat Krishna Shrestha (Police)

Quotes of the best players

Kiran Chemjong: Performance was satisfactory, I am happy to win the award.
Rohit Chand: Though the performance of the team could not be satisfactory, I am happy to receive the award.
Parbat Pandey: Best moment of my football career. I got the award after a long wait and am happy.
Santosh Sahukhala: It is the day that my dream came true.
Birat Krishna Shrestha (coach): Happy for being able to win the title consecutively and for individually being declared the best coach.

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