Three Star Club, NRT win

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 19:

Bijay Gurung scored the only goal as Three Star Club (TSC) defeated Tribhuvan Army Club (TAC) 1-0 in the Martyrs’ Memorial Everest ‘A’ Division League Football Tournament here at Dasharath Stadium. Gurung scored in an open net after TAC goalkeeper Channu Ram Chaudhary failed to gather Three Star Club striker Surendra Tamang’s long-range attempt properly and dropped the ball just infront of unmarked Gurung. In the day’s other match, come-back-king New Road Team (NRT) came from one goal deficit to beat Kathmandu Club 3-1. TAC, which joined the national league from this year, put pressure in some occassions but failed to convert their chances against an experienced Three Star Club, which has become a star-studded team after signing national team goalkeeper Upendra Man Singh among others.

ANFA Academy’s Vijay Gurung, Lok Bandhu Gurung, Pradeep Maharjan, Santosh Shrestha are other new signing players in ANFA spokesperson Lalit Krishna Shrestha’s club. To everyone’s surprise, Samir Nemkul, who captained Three Star Club in their last tournament, and Bal Gopal Maharjan, who captained national team in Asia Cup qualifiers held in South Korea, were among the bench players in the match. The Armymen had a flying start in their first match, as Surendra Chaudhari forced TAC goalkeeper Singh for a brilliant save in the 10th minute. Two minutes later, Upendra made another good save on Raju Lama’s attempt.

TAC goalkeeper Channu Ram Chaudhary saved Santosh Sahukhala’s shot on Surendra Tamang’s pass in the 25th minute. TAC striker Janmat Karki collected the ball from from Mahendra Khawas just outside the D-box before firing a left-footer, but TSC custodian Upendra Man Singh brilliantly punched out the ball. In the 83rd minute, Vijay Gurung almost doubled the tally when he dodged two defenders inside the penalty box, but TAC goalkeeper Chaudhary saved his attempt. Ramesh Sinkeman and Pradeep Maharjan of Three Star Club were booked. Earlier, Kathmandu Club took lead through 40-minute substitute Rupesh Dhaubanjar in the 52nd minute. Rupesh, cousin brother of TAC defender Babu Kaji Dhaubanjar, guided the ball inside the D-Box dodging two defenders and easily beat NRT goalkeeper Prakash Baidya. The match belonged to substitutes, as Kalyan Khadki, who replaced Parlay Rajbhandari in the 56th minute, netted the equaliser after just three minutes on Sandip Rai’s cross. In the 81st minute, another bench player Binod Lama, who replaced Yugal Kishor Rai in the second half, gave NRT a 2-1 lead on Jeevan Sinkeman’s corner, while Ritesh Khadka sealed the victory in the 89th minute.

Kathmandu Club custodian Amir Benjankar was cautioned with a yellow card. NRT players muffed a couple of easy scoring opportunities. Ritesh Khadka failed to convert in the 30th and the 61st minutes while in the 35th minute, taking a cross from Parlay Rajbhandari, Sanjeev Budhathoki’s attempt from the penalty area went wide. Susan Bhandari lost a golden chance as his short-range attempt on Kalyan Khadka’s cross was brilliantly saved by Kathmandu Club’s goalkeeper Benjankar. On Tuesday, Friends Club will take on Boys Union Club at the same venue.