HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Prakash Budhathoki scored the solitary goal as NIBL Friends Club stunned Three Star Club 1-0 in the Ncell Cup here at the Dasharath Stadium today.
The loss meant Three Star — who had played a 1-1 draw with newcomers Iceberg Madhyapur Youth Association on September 12 — stayed at the bottom in the four-team Group ‘A’ with one point. Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club, who are tied on three points with Friends, are atop. With just mathematical chances remaining to enter the last eight, Three Star will have to rely on other teams’ results apart from winning their next match against APF.
Prakash Budhathoki netted the solitary goal in the 39th minute after Three Star skipper and goalkeeper Kiran Chemjong fumbled a shot from Bishnu KC.
Bijay Gurung squandered a chance for Three Star on one-on-one encounter with Friends goalkeeper Birendra Bahadur Chand. Likewise, Divas Gurung could not connect a Jagjeet Shrestha’s acute cross for Friends in the 32nd minute.
Friends were reduced to 10 men after their skipper Sagar Thapa received marching orders after he brought down Santosh Sahukhala prompting FIFA Referee Sudish Pandey to give the marching orders for double bookable offence in the 87th minute. Friends were one man short for the last 12 minutes — three minutes of regulation time and nine-minute injury time.
Friends Club coach Dil Kaji Gurung was a happy man after the victory and praised his players. “It feels really good to come up with a win against a balanced side like Three Star. I am proud of the performance of my boys,” said Gurung.
Three Star coach Megh Raj KC, who quit the job after the match, lamented his team’s performance. “We (Three Star) did not play as a team today. We failed to make even a single comeback throughout the entire match,” said KC adding his side also lacked the efforts and zeal in the match.
Earlier, substitute Govinda Thapa converted a late penalty as Bouddha Football Club registered a 1-0 victory over Samsung Jawalakhel Youth Club (JYC) to make a winning start in Group ‘D’.
Bouddha earned the spot kick in the dying moments of the three-minute injury time after Nabin Gurung brought down Suman Lama inside the area. After a barren first half, Bouddha created a threatening move in the 54th minute only for Suman Lama to see his powerful strike hit the post.