Nepal Police rout Friends

KATHMANDU: Striker Ju Manu Rai scored a hat-trick as Nepal Police Club (NPC) inched closer to the knockout stage of the British Gorkha Cup Football Tournament with a 5-1 win over NIBL Friends Club here today.

In another match, Samsung Jawalakhel Youth Club (JYC) hammered Eastern Region-XI 4-1 to keep their quarter-final hopes alive. With two defeats Eastern-XI are knocked out from the group stage.

NPC rallied from a goal down to rout Friends who took the lead in the eighth minute when unmarked Bharat Khawas headed home a superb cross from Sushil KC. NPC glovesman Ritesh Thapa got his hands but could not prevent the ball going into the nets.

NPC Skipper Ananta Thapa and Ju Manu dominated the first half. Ju Manu missed a chance on a solitary encounter with Friends goalie Rupak Shrestha in the 10th minute and Ananta was denied the equaliser when Santosh Maharjan blocked the midfielder’s shot with goalkeeper away from the line.

NPC, however, found the equaliser in the 25th minute with Ananta scoring from six yards cashing on a free-kick from Ju Manu. Ananta repaid the favour setting up a goal for Ju Manu in the 44th minute. The NPC forward extended their lead converting a spot kick in the 68th minute. They were awarded the penalty after Dipak Gurung handled the ball inside the area.

Ju Manu completed his hat-trick six minutes later as his powerful shot deflected off Friends skipper Nur Raj Kafle. Chetan Ghimire completed the rout adding the fifth goal in the 36th minute. NPC coach Birat Krishna Shrestha said their second goal was the turning point of the match.

Earlier, a brace from Doran Sherchan helped JYC earn a crucial win over Eastern-XI. Doran put the JYC ahead in the 18th minute beating the offside trap before Raj Kumar Ghising doubled their lead six minutes later converting on a long cross from Jaggu Nath Khadka.

Rojin Dhimal reduced the deficit with a header following a cross from Raj Kumar Limbu in 30th minute but JYC retained their advantage when Doran headed home a minute later. Laxmi Shrestha added the fourth goal for JYC in the 54th minute.

JYC coach Kishore KC said his side was the better side than they were against a match with Friends

Club but admitted his mid-field still has some problems. “Our mid-field still has not improved which

could be crucial for us when we take on NPC,” said KC. Eastern coach Darshan Bhakta Raj said his

team lacked exposure and their last league match against Friends would just be for experience.