KATHMANDU, April 20: Jumanu Rai scored a brace in the second half as Red Bull National League champion Nepal Police Club (NPC) edged past Bauddha Football Club 2-0 at the Dasharath Stadium on Friday to reach the quarterfinal of the British Gurkha Cup.
Bauddha, which recruited 11 new players from Pokhara and retained 6 players of the last season, gave tough fight to NPC in the first half.
Bauddha would have taken the lead in the 13th minute had Dhurba Prasad Ghimire not shot inches wide from the edge of the danger area in a pass of Govinda Thapa.
Police made an immediate attack in the 14th minute. Bauddha custodian Ranjit Gurung had to punch Parbat Pandey´s long-range free kick to save it. The ball hit the inner edge and Suman Subedi sent it into the net but assistant referee judged it offside.
Bauddha goalie Gurung made a diving save to prevent NPC captain Rai´s overhead kick in a pass of Pandey in the 42nd minute.
"They put up better performance in the first half. The young boys from Pokhara showed a good sense of football in the first half," said NPC coach Birat Krishna Shrestha.
Rai, also the national team striker, gave a breakthrough to NPC in the 48th minute. Rai utilized a defensive error and his powerful strike from the area was simply unstoppable.
Four minutes later, Rai crossed a ball to Pandey and the latter made a one-touch strike from the area but goalkeeper Gurung made equally brilliant save.
Rai sealed the match for NPC in the 58th minute as he scored beating keeper Gurung. Bhola Silwal supplied a pass to Rai and he beat keeper and won the ball in a scuffle with defender Adarsha Sai to send it back of the net.
"We conceded both the goals in the second half because of misunderstanding between our defenders. However, I´m satisfied with the way boys performed today (Friday)," said Bauddha coach Kiran Shrestha. "Despite including new faces in the team, we were able to hold NPC in the first half," he added.
NPC coach Shrestha said that the departmental team is taking the tournament as a practice tournament for the AFC President Cup. As a Nepali league winner, NPC will participate in the upcoming AFC President Cup.
NPC will lock its horns against another departmental club, Tribhuvan Army, in the quarterfinal on Sunday while Mega Three Star Club will take on Nepal APF Club on Saturday in the first quarterfinal match of the tournament.