KATHMANDU, Dec 25: Nabil Three Star Club defended the title of British Gurkha Cup Football Tournament on Saturday with a 3-1 tiebreaker win over Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) at the Dasharath Stadium.
In the previous edition too, Three Star had defeated MMC 2-0 in the final.
Three Star custodian Kiran Chemjong denied two spotkicks of MMC to craft his side´s victory after the winners fate was decided in a tiebreaker following a 1-1 stalemate in the regular and extra time.
Chemjong denied Santosh Sahukhala and Pasang Lama´s first and fourth spot kicks while Nirajan Khadka´s second spotkick for MMC rebounded hitting the inner edge of the bar. Sabindra Shrestha was the only player to convert freekick for MMC. This is the second consecutive time that Sahukhala and Khadka missed in the shootout. In the semis too, the duo had missed penalty against Nepal Police Club.
Bijay Dhimal converted the fifth spotkick for Three Star which turned to be the decider after Anil Ojha and Bikash Singh Chhetri had converted the second and fourth. Raj Kumar Ghising and Biraj Maharjan missed the first and third spotkicks for Three Star.
Three Star coach Megh Raj KC who was adjudged the best coach for the first time in his career said that his side played a total team game and were able to win the final match. "We played a team game and were successful in lifting the title," KC said adding that they also proved to be the strongest team.
Commenting on MMC he said, "MMC have good and talented players but they are not yet a team."
During the regulation time, Three Star came from behind to level the scoring 1-1. Buddha Chemjong hit the equalizer in the 64th minute, six minutes after MMC had taken the lead. Chemjong directed the ball towards net from close range in Yogesh Gurung´s pass, which was set by Rajkumar Ghising after dribbling past two opponent defenders in the box. Ganesh Khadka had put MMC ahead when he headed a long pass of Sabindra Shrestha chasing it from a long way to stun goalie Chemjong.
In the entertaining match, both the sides created some attractive moves. In the 22nd minute, Anil Ojha´s brilliant freekick was punched by MMC goalie Bishal Shrestha from the crossbar and ten minutes later Rajkumar Ghising failed to beat one-on-one with goalie Shrestha.
MMC´s Sahukhala missed scoring chance in either half of the match. His low ball strike was denied by goalie Chemjong in the 34th minute and in the 72nd minute he hit far wide in Sujal Shrestha´s pass who also squandered a couple of scoring chances.
"It was unfortunate that we could not continue the lead we had taken during the regular time," said MMC coach Bal Gopal Maharjan, who has been longing for a title since his association with the club. He added that a simple mistake from his defender led them to concede the equalizer.
Along with the win Three Star bagged a purse of Rs one million while the runners up MMC received half of the amount. The two semifinalists -- Nepal Police Club and Samsung Jawalakhel Youth Club received cash prize of Rs 100,000. The best players in four different positions and coach were awarded Rs 50,000 each.
MMC skipper and defender Tashi Tshering was adjudged the best player of the tournament. Tshering was awarded with a Yamaha YBR--110 motorbike.