Sports

Police see off Darjeeling, enter semis

- BIPLAV BHATTARAI, Ilam

Mar 13, 2019-

Nepal Police Club (NPC) earned a hard-fought 2-1 victory over United Darjeeling of India to enter the semi-final of the Mai Valley Gold Cup football tournament here on Tuesday.

Saujanya Yakkha Rai gave an early sixth minute lead the Policemen before Bharat Shah doubled the lead in the 81st. Darjeeling did manage to pull one back but by then it was too late for them to claw their way back in the game. NPC will take on the winners of the match between Nepal Armed Police Force Club and Dauphins Family of Cameroon in the last four match.

As Darjeeling were yet to find their feet in the match Rai put NPC ahead through a free kick awarded after the opponent keeper fouled Binod Chhetri just outside the area. Rai slammed home the free kick as NPC gained an upper hand in the game. Darjeeling did put NPC under pressure but couldn’t manage to level the scores in the first half.

United continued to press for the equaliser in the second but it was NPC again who scored against the run of play. Bharat Shah struck from another NPC free kick in the 81st minute as NPC sniffed victory in the game. Three minutes later, Karan Rai struck for the visiting side but with very less time remaining, NPC managed to hold on.

With most of their first choice players currently under closed-camp for the national team, NPC had taken to the field with an inexperienced squad. “We had given chances to few new players but they didn’t fare according to our expectations. We were lucky to win because they (Darjeeling) players had problem with finishing,” said NPC coach Ananta Thapa.

On Wednesday, defending champion Three Star Club will take on Himalayan Sherpa Club. Three Star were directly drawn in the quarter-finals. The winners and runners-up of the tournament will get Rs 700,000 and Rs 400,000 respectively.

Published: 13-03-2019 10:11

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