KATHMANDU, April 22: Nepal Police Club registered a 4-3 win over departmental rival Nepal Army Club after Army skipper Bikash Malla missed the last spotkick on Sunday in the British Gurkha Cup Football Tournament securing place in the quarterfinal.
The fate of winner was decided in the penalty shootout after National League champion Police was valiantly held to a goalless draw by Army in the regulation time and added 30 minutes.
Tek Bahadur Budhathoki´s fourth spotkick was denied by Police custodian Ritesh Thapa and Malla´s fifth spotkick went wide.
Earlier, Police had failed to make a good start in the spotkick as its first strike from Yogesh Shrestha sailed above the bar while Raju Tamang of Army converted the penalty.
But Police converted its remaining four spotkicks taken by Parbat Pandey, Suman Subedi, Bhola Silwal and Rabin Shrestha respectively. Army players Hiranya Magar and Nawayug Shrestha also converted the second and third spotkicks.
"Bikash Malla never missed penalties in practice, but scoring in a tie breaker depends purely on luck," said Army coach Yogambar Suwal during the post match conference.
Police will now take on the winner of MMC and Friends in the semifinal.
During the regulation and added time, Army piled up consistent pressure against the departmental arch rival but failed to get the back of the net despite half a dozen impressive attacks.
In the added time, Army made three attacks on post -- two of them denied by man-of-the-match declared goalie Ritesh Thapa while other rebounded off the woodwork. Budhathoki´s attempt in the 16th minute of added time rebounded off the pole. Budhatoki and Hari Mahato´s attempts were denied by goalie Thapa.
Though Army dominated ball possession in regulation time, both the teams made equal four attacks on post. But Police could not make impressive attacks. Police striker Jumanu Rai made a couple of feeble post attack in the second half. In the first half Yogesh Shrestha´s corner rebounded off the pole in the 23rd minute and his second attempt through header in the injury time of same half sailed above bar.
Army´s attempt in the 88th minute through Nawayug Shrestha was punched to safety by goalie Thapa while Tanka Basnet, Deep Lama and Amrit Basnet hit off the target.
Meanwhile, Police striker Jumanu Rai was replaced during the added time after he picked knee injury.
"It was unfortunate to hit the woodwork in the stoppage time and we lost despite putting better show," Army coach Suwal said adding," I am however satisfied with the team´s performance and Army has shifted from power to technical game."
"We were unable to play in our previous tuning," Police coach Birat Krishna Shrestha said after the win. "We know Army cannot play under pressure but we failed to take the advantage," Shrestha said adding," We need to play President´s Cup after a month and we have limited players. We need to play better in both of the events and we cannot afford injury to any of the player as that may cost us the President´s Cup."