Three Star survive RCT scare, enter final


Pic: myrepublica

KATHMANDU, Jan 12: Penalty goal in the added time through Santosh Sahukhala helped Nabil Three Star Club survive Rani Pokhari Corner Team (RCT) scare as they beat RCT 2-1 on Tuesday to enter the final of the British Gurkha Cup Football Tournament being held at the Dasharath Stadium.

Three Star were awarded the penalty in the injury time of the added first half as the regular time ended in a 1-1 stalemate. Santosh did not commit any mistake to send the ball past the net in the penalty after he was brought down by RCT defender Raghu Prajapati in the box.

In the competitive match, Three Star had to wait until the 74th minute to materialize their dream of scoring. Man-of-the-match Bijay Gurung headed home to give the lead in a free kick supplied by Sanjeeb Budhathoki in the box as RCT custodian Dilip Chhetri moved ahead from his position to collect the ball.

However, Three Star´s joy could not last long as Dipak Rai leveled the score four minutes later through a penalty. RCT were awarded the penalty after Three Star defender Bikash Singh Chhetri fouled Dipak in the box.

Both the teams came up with frequent post attempts in the match. Three Star were unlucky twice as the referee ruled out two goals scored by them as offside. RCT midfielders Prabesh Katuwal and Uttam Gurung put up a good show as they supplied frequent supportive passes to the strikers.

In the 68th minute, Three Star´s Anil Ojha´s powerful strike from 25 yards on the second bar rebounded hitting the cross bar. In the 11th minute of extra time skipper Pradeep Maharjan squandered a one-on-one with RCT goalie Dilip.

Likewise Three Star´s glovesman Kiran Chemjong brilliantly dived and saved Uttam Gurung´s powerful volley from just outside the box. RCT were unlucky in the 112th minute too as Yogesh Gurung´s powerful shot from the box after beating two defenders was punched away by Kiran ahead of the cross bar.

Three Star will play the winners between Manang Marshyangdi and Macchindra Club in the final.

Three Star coach Bal Gopal Maharjan, satisfied with the victory, said that the team is nearing on the target of lifting the trophy. “We could not play better in the first half and there was also lack of coordination between Pradeep and Jocelyn Moran Pierce,” Bal Gopal said. He also lauded the opponent team and midfielders.

RCT coach Madhu Karki said that the day was unlucky for them. He also lauded the players´ performance and hard effort. “We created many opportunities but luck did not favor us though players made hard effort in the entire match,” Madhu said. He also expressed his dissatisfaction over the referee´s decision.

The next semifinal between MMC and Machhindra Club is scheduled to be held on Thursday.

No comments: