Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, June 14:

Hari Khadka scored two goals in two minutes as Mahendra Police Club defeated Machhindra Club 2-1 and entered the quarter-finals of the Birthday Cup Football Tournament, which has been organised by All Nepal Football Association (ANFA), here at Dasharath Stadium today.

MPC will now play Gyanendra Armed Police Force (APF) in June 19 quarter-final match. The new entrants APF defeated Jawalakhel Youth Club on Saturday. MPC had a first-round bye and won a match to enter the last eight, while the Armed Police Force, who did not have a bye, entered the quarters after winning just one match. MPC were without the services of skipper Anil Adhikari and defender Narottam Gautam, both injured. But the MPC have given Adhikari’s No 4 jersey to newly-hired Suman Subedi, also a defender. When asked after the match, skipper Hari Khadka said that the Adhikari was injured, but did not elaborate. On Tuesday, Hari Khadka put the policemen ahead in the 12th minute when the MPC skipper converted a free kick from the edge of the d-box line easily. MPC earned the free kick after Rajesh Shrestha brought down Jumunu Rai.

Hari doubled the tally two minutes later, when he beat the Machhindra Football Club goalkeeper Binod Maharjan. In an inspiring move, Jumunu Rai passed the ball to Budhathoki, who did not waste any time to set the ball for Hari. Machhindra FC, who upset Sankata Club 2-1 in the first round, pulled one back through a penalty in the 78th minute. Machhindra earned the spot kick after Rakesh Shrestha brought down Rupesh Dhaubanjar inside the penalty area, and Rajendra Tamang converted the penalty with a fine shot. MPC got three other chances in the one-sided first half, but Machhindra goalkeeper Binod Maharjan denied Hari Khadka and Ramesh Budhathoki with brilliant saves, while pJumunu Rai’s curling right-footer hit the cross bar. On the other side, Machhindra FC threatened MPC custodian Ritesh Thapa for a couple of occasions. Thapa was spectacular when he saved substitute Rupesh Dhaubanjar’s close-range shot in the 85th minute. In the dying moments, Hari missed a hat-trick chance when his open header went wide following Jumunu Rai’s cross.