Rijal brace sends NPC to semi-finals in Itahari

- Bedraj Paudel, ITAHARI

Jan 30, 2019-

A brace from Avishek Rijal inspired Nepal Police Club (NPC) to a 2-0 victory over CFC Bhutan as the departmental team secured a semi-final berth of the Madan Bhandari Memorial Itahari Gold Cup football tournament on Tuesday.

Rijal struck both the goals after the break to set the last-four meeting with Manang Marshyangdi Club on Thursday. The Bhutanese outfits came up with much improved showing in comparison to previous editions but bowed out from the very first match of the tournament. Though NPC took the match under control and piled consistence pressure they failed to make it count for real.

Rijal squandered a goal-scoring chance in the 17th minute but made up for his miss by scoring in the 63rd minute after being set up by Tirtha Rana. The NPC forward, effectively kill the match with his second goal in the stoppage time. The Bhutanese side could have cut the deficit in the dying moments of the game only for Nima to waste a sitter.   

CFC coach Bikash Pradhan said his team failed to play to their potential as they were exhausted after a long travel. “Our boys were tired after long travel. To add to our misery three players could not join the team due to visa issues at Kakarvitta border,” said Pradhan. Pradhan, however, was happy to play in the tournament that offered his side a good exposure.

Nepal Police Club coach Ananta Raj Thapa said his team played well below par largely due to insufficient training and partly because they were unaware of their opponents’ strength of weakness. “At the end of the day what counts is result, and we got it in our favour,” said Thapa.

Mechi Netralaya of Kakarvitta will take on Tribhuvan Army Club in the first semi-final match on Wednesday. The knockout tournament features eight teams and offers Rs 1.6 million to the champions and Rs 800,000 to the runners up. Man-of-the-match gets Rs 10,000 while best individual performers—goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and forward—and coach will get Rs 20,000 each. The best player and highest scorer will earn Rs 30,000 each.

Published: 30-01-2019 09:00

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