Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Nepalese Mahendra Police Club enter into Semi final of AFC president cup football

Mahendra overcome Khemara in a thriller
25 September 2007
Tatung captain Tsai Hui-Kai (left) tries to tackle Dordoi-Dynamo's Mirlan Murzaev during their AFC President's Cup match in Lahore. Photo by: AFC/Stanley Chou
LAHORE: Kyrgyzstan's Dordoi-Dynamo and Nepal's Mahendra Police Club notched impressive wins against Chinese Taipei's Tatung and Cambodia's Khemara by 6-4 and 5-0 scorelines respectively to enter the semi-finals of the AFC President's Cup from Group B.
Group A winners Regar-TadAZ will take on Mahendra Police Club in the first semi-final on September 27 while Dordoi will clash against Ratnam Sports Club in the second semi-final the following day.
Mahendra were given a fright in the closing stages by Khemara as they brought the game to 4-4 with three quick goals, but Mahendra recovered to add to its tally by another two to seal the issue 6-4.
In the second, simultaneous game at the Railway Stadium, with its leading star Roman Kornilov banging in four goals (in 18th, 62nd, 83rd and 89th minute with the opener pumped in by Artem Muladjanov) defending champions Dordoi-Dynamo gave another convincing performance that must serve as a serious warning to the pretenders for their crown.
With Dordoi-Dynamo having already qualified for the last four stage even before this last encounter, the second place from the group was up for grabs. And Mahendra seemed to have snuffed out Khemara's prospects of making it to the business end of the tournament with four first half goals against one. But then five late goals – three on the trot in 11 minutes by Khemara – infused life to the proceedings, for Mahendra too had to shun its complacent ways and score two goals to wrest back the initiative.
From Group A, Tajikistan 's Regar TadAZ, Tajikistan and Sri Lanka 's Ratnam Sports Club had booked their places for the semis by winning the morning's rescheduled matches.
Mahendra must have had in the back of their mind that goal average might come into play if the scores were even. Thus going all out, using long and short passes, they got their first goal early – in the 12 th minute when Anant Raj Thapa beat the entire Khemara defence to score. Only four minutes later, captain Ramesh Budhathoki made it 2-0.
Khemara came back in the game with pleasing display of skills in the midfield, and in the 23rd minute from the top of the circle Rotha Loch just tapped the ball past Mahemdra 'keeper Ritesh Thapa to get one back.
But Mahendra were again on the charge, and put away a brace more in the 25th and 30th minute through Parbat Pandey and Ju Manu Rai.
At the break, Mahendra at 4-1 seemed invincible. Afterwards the game was mostly played in the midfield and seemed to be a rather lacklustre affair when Khemara came back strongly to score three goals in a flash. Once Bun Vi Chet Ty had scored from a penalty in the 67 th minuted, Sokumpheak Kouch got another two in the 70th and 78th minute made the fag end really exciting.
That spree must have stung Mahendra, but they got the lead soon after through two strikes by Anant Raj Thapa in the 79 th that restored their primacy and Rijal Arjun in the 87th that with only three minutes and a bit remaining must have been really reassuring.
Dordoi coach Boris Podkorytov said he wants his players now to concentrate on tougher matches ahead. “Our semi-final against Sri Lanka ’s Ratnam will not be easy. I would like my boys to be prepared for the game as they also have a strong team.”
“We qualified for the semi-final after the second game but didn’t want to take any chances against Tatung today. We fielded our best players and they delivered what was expected from them.”
Mahendra Police Club coach Birat Krishna Shrestha expressed satisfaction after his team made it to the semi-final. “We are the second team from Nepal after Three Star Club to reach semi-final in this competition. I am happy with the performance of my players today.”
“They knew that only victory can guarantee them a place in the last four and they coordinated well and implemented the gameplan accordingly.”