KATHMANDU, May 13: Nepal Police Club defeated I-League side McDowell’s Mohun Bagan Club 2-0 on Saturday in a friendly match at the Dasharath Satidum with both goals coming from non-police players.
Santosh Sahukhala and Bharat Khawas scored goals in the last 10 minutes to hand victory over one of the India’s oldest football clubs.
Sahukhala of Three Star Club broke the deadlock in the 80th minute with a well-placed shot from just from inside the area. Khawas, who quit the departmental team earlier, ensured victory six minutes later when he dribbled past four Mohun Bagan players as he ran with the ball from the center of the pitch before firing past diving goalie Sangram Mukharjee.
Police, fielding five players, including Sandeep Rai, Biraj Maharjan and Kiran Chemjong, from other club, created about half a dozen chances. Mohun Bagan was unfortunate on two occasions as its attempt rebounded off the bar.
In the 24th minute skipper Sunil Chhetri’s powerful 25-yard strike and Ashim Biswas’s header in the 45th minute hit the post. In the 65th minute, Mohanraj’s close range shot was blocked by goalie Ritesh Thapa.
“It was a good game and Police team put up a good show,” Mohun Bagan coach Subrata Bhattacharya said during the post-match conference. “It was bad luck we failed to score despite creating chances.”
“Though we put in full effort, a couple of players did not arrive here. The boys were also tired from playing 40 matches of the I-League,” Bhattacharya said adding, “Two or three police players were brilliant. Such exhibition match will be better for football of both nations as well as South Asia.”
Khawas put up a brilliant display and mounted four other attacks on post. In the 32nd minute, Mohun Bagan custodian Mukherjee had to stretch to prevent Khawas shot. In the second half, Khawas’ left flank shot went inches wide. In the 41st minute Dipendra Paudel missed a sitter and Sahukhala failed to convert with only goalie to beat.
“In friendly matches teams generally come up with slow pace but we palyed on our origininal pace. We did not provide time and space to the opponents,” Police coach Birat Krishna Shrestha said.
Shrestha was also full of praise for the opponent. “Mohun Bagan created more chances and they wer without a couple of their regular players,” Shrestha said. They had better touch on the ball, ball sense movement and the better individual skils.” Shrestha also adjudged Khawas as the best player of the match.
Mohun Bagan skipper Sunil Chhetri opined that there were not much differenc between the quality of Indian and Nepali players. “Playing against Mohun Bagan is not a joke. Though some players did not come with us, we played to our full potential,” Chhetri said.