Policemen in semis, MMC enter last eight

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, June 19:

Mahendra Police Club (MPC) made it to the semi-finals of the Birthday Cup Football Tournament defeating Gyanendra Armed Police Force Club (APF) 2-0 here at Dasharath Stadium, today. MPC took lead in the first half injury time through Jumanu Rai. Fed by Rakesh Shrestha, Rai guided the ball inside the crowded area before firing the ball into the net. In the 73rd minute, Ramesh Budhathoki took advantage of APF defenders’ error and doubled the tally in one-to-one situation with goalkeeper Samit Raj Bhandari. APF defenders were appealing for an off-side when Budhathoki controlled the ball passed to him by his goalkeeper Ritesh Thapa, and scored afrom 25 yards, to put the issue beyond doubt. The APF, who got the direct entry to ‘A’ division, put the MPC at bay in the first half, but failed to create goal-threatening moves against the experienced team. Earlier in a re-match, Basanta Thapa scored an equaliser and was instrumental in other two goals as Manang Marsyangdi Club came from a goal-deficit to beat Ranipokhari Corner Team (RCT) 3-1 to enter the quarter-finals. The match was postponed on Saturday because of poor vision after the match went to extra time and ANFA failed to make use of the floodlights.

On Sunday, Harihar Thapa gave RCT a lead in the 17th minute when he scored from close range following a pass from Sudip Limbu. Basanta Thapa of MMC scored an equaliser in th 34th minute. RCT custodian Dilip Chhetri collided with his defender Manoj Gurung and dropped the ball just infront of unmarked Thapa, and the striker fired home. MMC added other two goals in the second half. Rajan Raimajhi put MMC ahead in the 60th minute when he found the net on his own rebound following Basanta Thapa’s cross. Fed by Basanta Thapa,

Birat Thapa sealed the victory dodging RCT custodian Dilip Chhetri inside the D-Box in the 87th minute. On Monday, Three Star Club will take on City Young Football Club of Dehra Dun.

ANFA, policemen ‘join hands’

KATHMANDU: In an act sheer bias, ANFA has approved the transfer of Machhindra Club’s Arjun Rijal to Mahendra Police Club. Machhindra Club, who entered the ‘A’ Division last year as ‘B’ Division league champions, registered 13 players within the ANFA’s April 2 deadline. As per ANFA rules, every ‘A’ division club should register 13 players within the deadline or the club stands relegated. Later, MPC contacted the player and Arjun agreed to play with the departmental team and got registered from the police side, through ANFA’s blessing. The player was not included in both the clubs’ line-up in their first matches in Birthday Cup. The issue came to light today when Arjun was included by MPC in their substitution list and he took the field during second half. According to Machhindra Club president Sunil Kapali, ANFA asked the club to release the player. “What can we do as newcomers. When ANFA asked us to release the player,we had to comply” said Kapali. Asked about the club’s chances to protest the decision, he calmly said: “In such a situation, who would dare go against the policemen.” — HNS