KATHMANDU, April 23: Nabil Three Star Club reclaimed second position defeating Ranipokhari Corner Team (RCT) 3-1 on Friday in an entertaining match in the Martyrs Memorial San Miguel ´A´ Division League Football at the Dasharath Stadium.
In another match, relegation battlers Sankata Kathmandu Mall Club registered third victory of the league after eight matches against NIBL Friends Club with an impressive 4-0 victory. Friends have collected only one point from the five matches played in the second leg.
Three Star climbed two steps in the table to push Army Club and New Road Team with equal 28 points one spot down to third and fourth position respectively on the basis of goal difference after playing the 16th league match. Leaders Police with a match in hand have 35 points in their kitty. RCT remain unchanged in seventh position with 20 points.
Sankata progressed one step from the bottom of the table with 10 points in the 12-team contest, two points behind 10th placed APF who have played one match less than Sankata. Friends have 20 points and are in eighth position.
In an entertaining match from start to finish, Three Star took a 23rd minute lead through striker Surendra Tamang. Tamang directed the ball toward the net from close range in a cross of Santosh Sahukhala. Leading scorer Sahukhala doubled the tally in the 58th minute in his solo effort beating two opponent defenders to score his 16th league goal.
Tanzanian midfielder Castory D Mumbara of Three Star sealed the match in the 84th minute through a powerful 25-yard strike to stun RCT goalie Dilip Chhetri five minutes after Dipesh Thapa Magar of RCT had scored to close the gap 2-1. Magar pushed the ball toward the net after Three Star goalie Kiran Chemjong drop a feeble close range shot of Rhoman S Goyenechea, the American midfielder for RCT.
Both sides came up with an impressive performance making frequent moves and attacks on target. Three Star goalie Chemjong made a couple of attractive saves. RCT were unlucky in the 64th minute when Dipak Rai´s shot deflected hitting the inner edge of the bar. In the 22nd minute, goalie Chemjong denied Santosh Gurung´s powerful strike and in the 54th minute he brilliantly prevented Rai´s shot.
Three Star also missed two scoring chances in one-on-one with the goalie. Sahukhala and Mumbara shot wide when they had only the custodian to beat.
Three Star coach Bal Gopal Maharjan said that he was satisfied with the results and insisted that they were still in the title race.
Earlier, Sankata heaved a sigh of relief when they hammered Friends, going through a bad time in the second leg, with spectacular goals-twice from Sujal Shrestha and one each from Ekjun Tuladhar and Nirajan Malla. The goals scored were probably the best goals of all matches played so far in the league.
Shrestha opened the scoring in the 39th minute through a powerful one-touch strike from the box capitalizing on a defensive error of the opponents. Sankata doubled the lead in the injury time of the first half when Ekjun Tuladhar unleashed a powerful 30-yard shot to stun goalie Sagar Gurung.
Shrestha scored his second goal four minutes after the interval and Nirajan Malla killed the match nine minutes before time through a superb 25-yard freekick from the left flank. Friends could not make any remarkable attack on post other than Buddha Chemjong´s diving header in the 69th minute, which went inches wide from the pole.
Friends coach Mrigendra Mishra said that his side became the victim of poor finishing and bad luck. He also blamed his strikers for missing chances.