KATHMANDU, Sept 24: National champion Nepal Police Club was held to a 1-1 draw by minnows Bauddha FC on Monday while Yeti Airlines Himalayan Sherpa Club earned point with 2-1 win over Mahindra Bansbari FC in the Ncell Cup Football Championship at the Dasharath Stadium in Kathmandu.
After playing their second match of group D, Police and Bauddha occupy first and second positions with four points each. Jawalakhel and Saraswati having played only one match are in third and fourth position remaining pointless.
Subin Shrestha headed the equalizer for Bauddha in the 53rd minute to snatch a point from the departmental giant. Police custodian Ritesh Thapa provided the goal scoring opportunity for Bauddha as he dropped a freekick taken by Umesh Thapa allowing Shrestha to head the ball into the net. It was the only post attempt by Bauddha.
"We have aimed either for win or a draw and we achieved it.," Bauddha coach Kiran Shrestha said adding, "The result has strengthen our chances of making it into the next stage."
"Conceding the goal was custodian´s mistake but defenders are also equally responsible as they were not alert about the rebound," Birat Krishna Shrestha, Police coach said.
Earlier, Police had taken the lead during the injury time of first half through Dipendra Paudel who headed in a corner of Parbat Pandey. Before that, Bauddha goalie Ranjit Gurung had stopped Police skipper Jumanu Rai´s diving header.
In the first half, Bauddha enjoyed more ball possession and kept the champion under pressure but could not mount any attacks on post. But Bauddha was busy on resisting Police during the later stage of second half after getting back the equalizer.
"Our players could not play their best and the opponents also did not let us play," Police coach Shrestha said.
Earlier in the kick off match, skipper Pukar Gahatraj netted both the goals in Sherpa´s win over Bansbari FC including the late winner through penalty.
Gahatraj converted the match winner through spotkick in the 82nd minute. Referee Bikash Mahat awarded penalty to Sherpa after Ganesh Khadka was fouled by Man Pariyar in the area.
Earlier, Gahatraj had put the Sherpa ahead in the 25th minute with a superb strike from 25-yard. But Nir Kumar Rai leveled the score for Bansbari in the 54th minute with a solo effort beating two defenders and goalie Binay Shrestha.
Sherpa controlled much of the match and created as may as four chances. In the 56th minute, Som Bahadur Malla´s 25-yard freekick hit the upright. Similarly, Dinesh Karki´s two attacks were denied by Bansbari custodian Ranjit Gurung.
Shyam Babu Magar´s was unsuccessful in his attempt of getting the equalizer for Bansbari in the fading moment of match as his powerful shot was denied by the diving custodian Shrestha.
Playing its second match, Shepra is in third position of group C with three points. Group leader CMG Club Sankata and second placed McDowell´s RCT also have three points, but they have a game in hand. Bansbari hits the bottom of the table with no point.
Bauddha coach Arujn Lama said his team was not able to finishing well given their ball possession. "Now we have 50/50 chances of making it to the next round," said Lama whose side meets RCT in its last match. Lama also lamented on the lack of experienced players in his side.
Bansbari coach Hari Om Shrestha came down heavily on referee decision. "The penalty was unnecessary," Shrestha said adding Ganesh Khadka had dived to get the penalty. "Either foreigner referee should be hired to conduct the match fairly or at least one official of the club should be vice president at the ANFA," said Shrestha hinting that Sherpa Club was favored by referee because a club official was the vice president of ANFA.