‘A’ Division League : Police sign off with 1-1 stalemate
Jan 6, 2019-
Three time champions Nepal Police Club wrapped up the Martyrs Memorial ‘A’ Division League campaign with a 1-1 draw against Saraswoti Youth Club while newboys Chyasal Youth Club finished eighth after their match against Jawalakhel Youth Club ended with the same scoreline at the Nepal APF headquarters grounds on Saturday.
Police, who missed host of chances after the interval, came from behind to salvage draw against Saraswoti. Winger Rabi Paswan scored in the 53rd minute to cancel out Saraswoti’s lead taken three minutes earlier through Victor Amobi. In the early fixture, Tshring Gurung scored for Chyasal to share the spoils against Jawalakhel who had went ahead through Aruj Singh strike.
The outcome leaves Police, the winners of 2006-07, 2010 and 2011 seasons, at sixth place with 19 points following their last match of the campaign. They could further slip one spot behind if Himalayan Sherpa beat Three Star Club in their last fixture on Sunday. Saraswoti ended up at the ninth spot with 14 points. Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC), who have maintained 100 percent winning record until penultimate rounds, were already crowned the champions with two matches in hand. Sankata Club confirmed runners-up finish with a match to spare.
Chyasal, competing in the top tier football for the first time, are certain to finish eighth with 16 points. Jawalakhel bowed out 10th with 13 points in the 14-team league that does not have provision of relegation.
In the late match, Saraswoti’s Francis Okechukwu squandered an opportunity early in the third minute holding back to shoot from the zone on a pass from Sabin Khadka before Police custodian Arpan Karki invaded to clear it. In the 20th minute, the Koteshwor-based side’s 30-yard freekick from Ramesh Tamang rattled on the bar for a rebound.
Police threatened Saraswoti in the 38th when Paswan’s low drive from close range missed the target by a whisker. Saraswoti replied three minutes later through Francis whose half volley from the tight angle was denied by the goalie. The first half stoppage time saw, Paswan firing few yards wide at far post after sprinting with the ball nearly from the centre.
Saraswoti broke the deadlock five minutes after the resumption through a penalty after Tirtha Basnet was fouled in the area by Hem Tamang. Nigerian forward Victor scored from the spot. The departmental team, however, restored parity in the 53rd as Paswan combined perfectly to tap Nir Kumar Rai’s left flank cross from close range. Paswan missed another scoring chance in the 72nd as he ended up shooting wide from the area with only goalie Pradip Bhandari to beat.
In the 81st minute, Police substitute player Hari Kathayat’s header in Abhishek Rijal cross landed straight at goalie Bhandari’s hand and eight minutes later Rijal’s tapping from the crowded zone was blocked again by the glovesman. Police wasted yet another scoring chance in the stoppage time when unmarked Rijal ended up firing wide on a cross from Rai.
“We had problem in finishing line since the beginning of the league and the same problem haunted us throughout the tournament,” Police coach Ananta Raj Thapa said. “Had we have better finishers, we would have finished in top four position,” said Thapa who was taking charge in top tier football for the first time. “League is totally different than knockout tournaments and it is the real platform for players to show their ability. This tournament must continue for genuine development of the game,” he added.
Saraswoti coach Pradip Nepal was satisfied with the final standing for his side. “Everyone worked hard for us. But we failed to finish inside the top six positions as we lost to teams like Machhindra and Himalayan Sherpa Club.”
In the early match, Aruj Singh headed Olakane Afeez Lawal’s freekick to put Jawalakhel ahead against Chyasal in the 10th minute. Chyasal levelled the scores through Tshiring Gurung penalty in the 32nd minute.
Sherpa v Three Star (1430 NST Satdobato)
Army v Machhindra (1430 NST Halchowk)
Published: 06-01-2019 07:23
- ‘A’ Division League