KATHMANDU, Oct 9: A lone goal from Ramesh Katuwal steered national champion Nepal Police Club into the semifinal of Ncell Cup Football Championship on Tuesday as it toiled hard to beat minnow CMG Club Sankata 1-0 at the Dasharath Stadium in Kathmandu.
Midfielder Ramesh Katuwal scored the lone goal for the departmental giant in the 78th minute which turned to be the decider during the last quarterfinal match. Unmarked Katwal easily tapped in the winner just ahead from the goalline after Sankata´s African goalie Pierre Herve was beaten in pass from Yogesh Shrestha.
Police will now lock horns with arch rival Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) in the second semifinal to be played on Thursday. Iceberg Madhyapur Youth Association will vie with McDowell Ranipokhari Corner Team (RCT) in the first semifinal to be held on Wednesday.
In the lackluster match, the departmental team failed to come up with quality performance. "None of the players were able to come up with quality performance," Police coach Birat Krishna Shrestha said during the post match conference.
Shrestha is also worried about ankle injury midfielder Parbat Pandey had picked during the match. Pandey was replaced in the 24th minute. "Pandey´s semifinal appearance is in doubt. If he fails to show up, it will cost the team dearly."
In the 49th minute Sankata goalie Herve who made a couple of brilliant saves denied Bharat Shah´s shot in one-on-one position. In the 69th minute Herve valiantly punched Ramesh Katuwal´s powerful shot from the area.
Sankata missed a chance of taking 10th minute lead as its African defender Mbombo Lindani hit wide while beating an advancing Police custodian in the edge of area. Goalie Thapa again foiled Sankata´s bid of hitting the equalizer in the 90th minute when he caught an acrobatic shot of Wangel Ghalan from the area in a freekick taken by Salyan Khadgi.
Police coach Shrestha also commented that his side failed to score due to lack of ball possession, support and communication.
Sankata coach expressed satisfaction at his side´s performance. "Only two players of the squad have the experience of playing in top level as all other members came from B division," Mulmi said whose side reclaimed its position in A division in the current season. Mulmi also commented that he was satisfied with his side´s performance and opined that the team need to learn how to play with senior players and team.