Heart-breaking tie-breaker

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, May 12:

Dordoi-Dynamo of Kyrgyzstan beat Three Star Club of Nepal 4-3 in tie-breaker to advance to the final of the first AFC President’s Cup Football Tournament here in a jam-packed Dasharath Stadium.

In Saturday’s final, Dordoi will face Regar TadAZg of Tajikistan, who earlier routed Blue Star Sports Club of Sri Lanka 6-0.

In tie-breaker, Nirajan Khadka and Bijay Gurung failed to score as Dordoi Dynamo custodian Zakir Djalilov dived to gather the ball. Three who found the net were Pradeep Maharjan, Pralay Rajbhandari and Santosh Shrestha. Three Star goalkeeper Upendra Man Singh — who saved a couple of certain goals during the match — stopped one spot kick of Marle Kasymov, but that was not enough for the home team. Zamirbek Jumagolav, Vladi-mir Chertkov, Vasily Kono-nov, and goalkeeper Zakir Djalilov scored for Dordoi.

In a surprising move during the tie-breaker, Three Star coach Dhruba KC sent teenager Nirajan Khadka to take the second spot kick. The rookie ended up with a weak shot in Dordoi goalkeeper Djalilov’s hands.

Later in a post-match press conference, KC defended his decision and said, “He has never missed a penalty. So we decided to send him.” Asked about Bijay’s spot kick, the coach said he was surprised why the out-of-form midfielder chose to hit on the right side. “He always targets left side, but today he went for the right and failed.”

The Three Star players seemed tired due to dehydration caused by last-night diarrohea, but showed no signs on the field as they chased the relatively tough opponents. Pradeep Maharjan should have scored at least a couple of goals in the normal time, but the midfielder muffed up easy chances. In the 19th, he failed to connect on Santosh Sahukhala’s cross, while he ended up with a wide shot in an open net in the injury time.

“The match should not have gone to the extra time, had my boys utilised the opportunities they got during the normal time,” said dejected coach KC.

The Kyrgyzstan coach was more than happy with the result. “It was a tough match, and we were lucky to win,” said Mihail Tiagusov. He also praised the performance of Three Star goalie Upendra Man Singh, defenders and striker Santosh Sahukhala.

Earlier, Regar TadAZg took lead in the 12th minute through Sukhroo Khamidov when he found the net on Dzhomikhon Muhidinov’s pass inside the D-Box.

Khurshed Makhmudov doubled the tally in the 40th minute. A minute later, Sukhrob Khamidov scored following Odil Irgashev’s cross from the right flank.

In the 69th, Abaullo Uma-rbaev scored the fourth goal capitalising on Blue Star custodian Sugath Dammika Thilakaratne’s error. Maruf Rustamov fired a powerful shot from the edge of the penalty box in the 74th minute, and Shujoat Nematov completed the rout in the dying moments.