Battle of stars versus young talents: MMC locking horns with Three Star



KATHMANDU, Dec 25: Coach Bal Gopal Maharjan and striker Santosh Sahukhala were the two heroes when Nabil Three Star Club lifted the British Gurkha Cup last year beating Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) in the final but they would be playing the opposite role of stopping Three Star and inspiring MMC in the final of the ongoing edition on Saturday.

During the period of a year, MMC have signed star players like Sahukhala, Anjan KC, Bijay Gurung and the likes in record money from Three Star, who on the other hand are counting on young talents like Biraj Maharjan, Bikash Singh Chhetri, Buddha Chemjong and so on.

"We could be in any clubs during our professional life. We are in MMC now and we will give our hundred percent to win the title," said coach Maharjan. "The club management has invested handsome amount for players and the fans are expecting a lot from us. We will try to live up to the expectation," he added.

On the other side, his counterpart Megh Raj KC has faith on young talents. "Despite new signings, our team is already set. We played five tournaments after signing new players and we are experienced enough to face MMC," said KC. "MMC have star players but they are yet to set the team. The MMC stars are not showing great coordination and I believe that a coordinated team effort would turn out to be more fruitful than mere stardom," he added.

Three Star defeated Friends Club 2-0 in the quarterfinal and Samsung Jawalakhel Youth Club 2-1 in the semifinal of the ongoing tournament. Meanwhile, MMC were lucky to pull victory over New Road Team (NRT) through a tiebreaker in quarterfinal and they went through the similar fate to beat Nepal Police Club (NPC) in sudden death in the semifinal match. Both the finalists have won all of their group matches of the tournament.

"They were just lucky to reach final after the thrilling tiebreaker and sudden death in knockout matches of the tournament," said Three Star Coach KC. Maharjan, however, claimed that his side has already corrected the mistakes and will not let even a single opportunity to slip from their hands during the final match. He said that his team will perform a coordinated team game in the final as players in all positions -- goalkeeping, defense, midfield and forward-- are set.

Meanwhile, Three Star could miss Ranjit Shrestha, the young but one of the talented midfielders of the country, since he was booked in consecutive knockout matches. "Ranjit is a talented player but I hope his replacement Bishnu Gurung will control the midfield. Meanwhile, injured defender Sanjeev Budhathoki and Bishnu Sunuwar are fit for the final," KC said.

The two clubs are facing each other for the first time since the new signings from both the sides. Both the coaches said that they would make crucial move during the match after reading the opponents´ game. "Here (in Nepal), nobody can make analysis about opponents only on the basis of former associations with the clubs, our young players will surprise the MMC stars," claimed KC.

Karna Subba, Santosh Sahukhala, Raj Kumar Ghising and Buddha Chemjong are the top scorers of the ongoing tournament until semifinals and three among them will be in field in the final. Sahukhala will lead MMC forward line-up while Ghising and Chemjong could be troublesome for MMC defense line-up.

There are huge changes in both the clubs but looking at their last three encounters, Three Star have won two and lost one.

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