Depleted Nepal Police hold Three Star

KATHMANDU: Depleted Nepal Police Club (NPC) escaped with a goalless draw against the Nabil Three Star Club while struggling Tribhuvan Army Club (TAC) defeated Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) 2-0 in the Martyrs Memorial San Miguel A Division League here today.

Playing without their influential striker Ju Manu Rai and midfielder Parbat Pandey — who were both suspended for the match — NPC made hardly any attempts on goal and to make the matter worse they also lost midfielder Bhola Silwal midway through injury.

Three Star squandered number of scoring opportunities thanks to the poor finishing. Early in the eighth minute Vijay Gurung cut through two defenders only for his shot to be blocked by NPC custodian Ritesh Thapa. In the 25th minute, Vijay and Santosh Sahukhala both failed to meet an accurate Anjan KC cross. The Lalitpur-based club missed a rare chance in an hour mark when Sahukhala opted to release a pass to Vijay instead of taking a shot himself.

Sahukhala rounded two defenders but passed the ball to Vijay instead. The winger, however, delayed the shot to allow NPC defenders to block his shot. Vijay also went close to scoring in the 65th minute when his flick on Pradeep Maharjan cross rolled just inches wide of the bar.

NPC coach Birat Krishna Shrestha said their opponents were a far better team today. "I have to say we earned a point considering our performance in the match. But in the race for the championship, it's a huge loss," said Shrestha.

Three Star assistant coach Upendra Man Singh rued the missed chances. "Our players under-performed today. They also missed a number of good chances," said Singh, who claimed that they lost two valuable points in the championship race.

In the other match, Tribhuvan Army Club entirely dominated the match with MMC failing to make any threatening moves. The Armymen took the seventh-minute lead but should have gone into the break with at least three-goal lead had they not missed on easy chances.

Bikarna Shrestha struck to the far post with the ball hitting the inner bar before crossing the goalline. Bikarna missed a chance to double the tally, shooting off target in one-on-one encounter with MMC goalie Bishal Shrestha in the 19th minute. MMC got yet another reprieve when Raju Tamang's strike rebounded of the inner bar in the 33rd minute and Bhoj Raj Ghimire missed a sitter a minute later, shooting wide in an unattended post. The Armymen ensured they walk away with three points when Amrit Basnet scored a superb goal from the edge of the box in the 59th minute.

With the day's results, Tribhuvan Army Club climbed one spot up to

fifth with 15 points from 10 matches. NPC maintained their lead atop the standings with 22 points,

two more than second-placed New Road Team who have played a game less. Three Star stayed third with 18 and MMC fourth with 17 points.