Nepal Police Club registered a hard-fought win over Rupandehi Football Club in sudden death during the Manakamana Cable Car Pokhara Cup Football Tournament at the Pokhara Stadium on Wednesday.
The match was decided by sudden death after both teams played a goalless stalemate in regulation and extra time and the tie-breaker also ended 3-3. In the sudden death, Suraj BK, Hari Kathayat and Dinesh Gurung scored for Police while Rupandehi could score only two goals through Ravi Silwal and Suraj Thing. Hem Tamang´s shot was saved by Rupandehi goalkeeper Dilip Chhetri, while Police goalkeeper Ritesh Thapa denied Nishant Dhungana and Laxman Thapa.
Earlier, Dipen Shrestha, Suman Subedi and Bhola Silwal scored for Police in the penalty shootout, while Jumanu Rai was denied by Dilip and Ajit Bhandari´s shot sailed over the crossbar.
Pukar Gahatraj, Kalu Thapa and Bimal Gharti Magar scored for Rupandehi, while Barsat Gurung was denied by Ritesh and Dona Thapa shot wide.
The match was evenly contested from the onset. Both teams missed some chances in regulation time. Only two minutes into the match Police had the first chance to take the lead when Bhola Silwal picked out Bharat Shah with a free kick, but the latter´s shot from inside the box crashed against the bar.
Rupandehi also failed to break the deadlock in the 15th minute after Ritesh saved Bimal´s close-range header from Dona Thapa´s cross.
Rupandehi keeper Dilip punched Ajit Bhandari´s attempt to safety in the 27th minute. Jumanu´s shot for Police in the 59th minute hit the crossbar. Two minutes later, Kalu Thapa´s attempt for Rupandehi whisked past the post before Dona Thapa´s header from inside the box hit the bar in the 65th minute.
Biswas Shrestha was named the man of the match.
Victorious coach Birat Krishna Shrestha said his team could not establish good coordination and failed to perform to their potential.
"Being the first match of the tournament, it was apparent that we could not coordinate well. But I am sure our performance and coordination will improve as the tournament progresses. We failed to capitalize on our chances in the first half and played the second half under pressure. Though we are capable of playing far better than this, we had to wait until sudden death for the win."
Rupandehi manager Lok Pun said luck did not favor his team though they put up a good performance. "We had to finalize our team in a short time and had little time to adjust. Besides, luck was not on our side. Players gave their best but luck did not favor us."
Police will take on Tribhuvan Army Club in its next match while APF Sports Club will take on Dharan Football Club on Thursday.