Taiwan Power Company dent NPC hopes

KATHMANDU: Defensive misunderstanding and goalkeeping blunder by Nepal Police Club (NPC) handed visiting Taiwan Power Company (TPC) of Chinese Taipei a 3-2 win in the AFC President's Cup Group 'A' qualifying match here at the Dasharath Stadium on Thursday.

Pao Hsing Feng, Po Yuan Lin and Meng Chian Lee scored for TPC while Bhola Silwal and Chetan Ghimire converted for the home team. The defeat meant that the 2007 finalists are risking the elimination from the group stage for the first time in their third appearance.

Midfielder Silwal gave the 21st minute lead for the NPC. Silwal lobbed over the TPC goalkeeper Wei Chih Pan from inside the box after trading passes with striker Ju Manu Rai. The home team's lead, however, lasted only for a minute thanks to a sloppy goalkeeping from NPC custodian Ritesh Thapa. Feng's 25-yard weak shot rolled underneath the NPC goalkeeper's arms.

TPC keeper Pan denied Ju Manu a goal when the NPC striker pierced through two defenders and struck a powerful shot in the 36th minute. The departmental team came close to scoring again in the 45th minute but Ghimire headed inches wide following a floating cross from Yogesh Shrestha.

TPC went ahead seconds after the restart thanks to the defensive misunderstanding between veteran Rakesh Shrestha and Rookie Suman Subedi, letting Lin to strike from close range. The Teipei team added yet another goal through penalty to make it 3-1 in the 57th minute. TPC earned the spot kick after Rakesh brought down Ming Chan He inside the danger zone and Lee converted the kick. NPC were unlucky three minutes later when Chetan's shot rebounded off the bar following a corner kick from Yogesh.

The home team reduced the deficit four minutes from time, inginiting hopes of earning a point. Chetan scored capitalising on an error from a TPC defender. NPC, however, could not produce an equaliser which would have kept their qualifying chances much higher.

NPC coach Birat Krishna Shrestha believed that TPC did not earn the win but it was the home team who gifted them the three points. "It's not that we played poor football but that we made too many mistakes," said Shrestha. He defended goalkeeper saying that he (Ritesh) was one of the best keepers and what happened to him today could happen to anybody. "We still have chances but it would be now more a mathematical than the clear cut ones," said Shrestha. TPC coach Kuei Jen Chen said his team performed exceptionally well against a tought opponent. "We are hoping to qualify and for that we will have to focus on one game at a time," said Chen.

WAPDA hold Regar TadAZ

KATHMANDU: WAPDA of Pakistan held defending champions Regar TadAZ of Tajikistan to a goalless draw in the inaugural match of the AFC President's Cup Group 'A' qualifying tournament here at the Dasharath Stadium on Thursday.

Chances were few and far as WAPDA adopted defensive strategy from the onset. Ibragim Rsbimov of the two-time champions Regar TadAZ came close to scoring in the 11th minute but the midfielder's freekick was brilliantly saved by WAPDA goalkeeper Aziz. Niazi Imran also wasted a chance for the Pakistani team in the 68th minute.

"We are happy to have shared a point with the defending champions," said WAPDA coach Khalid Butt. "Our plan worked well today," added Butt. His counterpart Makmadjon Khabibulloev said they would come strong in their next two games. "Since it was the first game, we were rusty today," said the Regar TadAZ coach. — HNS