KATHMANDU, April 28: Nepal Police Club shattered Mega Three Star Club´s dream of making British Gorkha Cup Football title hat-trick with 2-0 victory in the final held at the Dasharath Stadium in Kathmandu on Saturday.
The departmental giant and the national league champion, playing without its star players -- Jumanu Rai and Rabin Shrestha -- scored both the goals during first half to stun star studded Three Star Club. The best striker declared Yogesh Shrestha and Bharat Shah scored one each for Police.
With the victory Police also succeeded in lifting the first title of the new season and ended its knockout title drought. The last time Police had won a major knockout title was in 2066 BS during Martyrs Memorial Football Tournament in Jhapa. The title gave a morale boost to the departmental team which is competing in the AFC President´s Cup group stage match from May 5 in Cambodia in the capacity of league champion.
As the winner, Police bagged a cash prize of Rs 1 million and Three Star remained satisfied with Rs 500,000. The two semifinalists -- Yeti Airlines Himalayan Sherpa Club and Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club -- received Rs 100,000 each.
In the packed stadium, Police created only two impressive chances and scored on both the occasions. Three Star made about half a dozen attacks on post but failed to achieve target as the Police custodian Ritesh Thapa stood as a major obstacle with heroic saves. Thapa was declared the best player of the tournament as well as the best goalkeeper.
Police opened scoring in the 16th minute through Yogesh Shrestha taking advantage of poor performance of Nepali international goalie Kiran Chemjong who dropped a long range strike of Roshan Karki. Shrestha did not make any delay in directing the ball toward the net from the six yard box.
Bharat Shah, who got a rare start, doubled the tally in the 29th minute through header to pile pressure on the Lalitpur based club. Shah made a claver header from the area in a freekick taken by Parbat Pandey from the right flank. Police was awarded with the freekick after Dilip Rai was fouled by Yogesh Shrestha.
Santosh Sahukhala´s three of the four post attempts for Three Star were off the target while goalie Thapa prevented other. In the 12th, 19th and 63rd minute, Sahukhala´s header sailed inches above bar. In the 81st minute, Sahukhala´s twin attempts failed to achieve target.
In the 15th minute, Thapa punched Anil Ojha´s left flank freekick. In the 64th minute, Yogesh Gurung´s goal bound shot from the area was stopped just ahead of goalline after it hit teammate Buddha Chemjong and goalie Thapa got hold of it. In the 66th, Thapa made a long stretch dive to stop Bikram Lama´s powerful strike from the arch of area.