Big guns make winning start

Kathmandu, November 2:

The big guns Nabil Three Star Club (NTSC) and Tribhuvan Army Club (TAC) started their campaign with wins against the minows in the Martyrs’ Memorial San Miguel ‘A’ Division League Football here at the Dasharath Stadium today.

The NTSC beat Machhindra Club 2-0 while the TAC defeated Friends’ Club 2-1. Midfielder Vijay Gurung and striker Surendra Tamand found the nets for the former league champions Nabil Three Star in the first game. Ram Kumar Biswas and Bikarna Shrestha scored for the TAC while Sisir Adhikari pulled back one for Friends’ Club.

Nabil Three Star made an assult early in the first minute but Pradeep Maharjan squandered a golden opportunity in one-on-one with Machhindra goalie Kiran Limbu. Three Star, however, went ahead four minutes later on a goal from Vijay Gurung on a cross from Yugal Kishor Rai.

Machhindra pressed hard for an equaliser throughout the first half and had as many as three scoring chances. In the 30th minute, NTSC lost influential winger Anjan KC following a nasty clash with Kehinde Idris Olayinka. KC needed three stitches to fill the cut just above the eyebrow.

Two minutes into the second half, Three Star captain Surendra Tamang doubled the lead when he converted after Vijay Gurungs’ strike rebounded off a Machhindra defender. “I am satisfied with the result but we need to improve a lot in coming matches,” said former NTSC player Bal Gopal Maharjan, who is looking after the club from season.

In the second game, Biswas put the TAC in the lead. Though referee Dilip Rajak credited the goal to Biswas, it appeared to be an own goal by Ukesh Shrestha. “Ukesh conceded the goal in an attempt to clear Biswas’ attempt,” said Friends’ skipper Rabin Byanjankar. Bikarna extended the TAC lead in the 51st minute on a defensive blunder by Ramesh Byanjankar. Sisir Adhikari pulled back one for Friends’ in the 76th minute.

Friends coach Siddhi Byanjankar and captain Rabin Byanjankar blamed poor defensive work for their defeat. Former Manang Marsyangdi Club goalkeeper Bikash Malla, who was entrusted as skipper in his debut match for the departmental team in the absence of Janamat Karki, said that they won because they capitalised the lead.

“The only difference between the teams was that we converted the chances and they didn’t,” said Malla, who is back in the football after a long break. He is undergoing training for the second leutinent in Nepali Army. TAC coach Babu Kaji Dhaubanjar credited the win to Malla who made two brilliant saves in the second half.