Three Star beat Sherpas, finish thirdThree Star Club sealed the third place in the Martyrs Memorial ‘A’ Division League with a 2-0 victory over Himalayan Sherpa Club while Machhindra Club will be docked at least one point in the next season as they failed to climb out of bottom two after losing 3-0 against Tribhuvan Army Club on Sunday.
Three Star Club sealed the third place in the Martyrs Memorial ‘A’ Division League with a 2-0 victory over Himalayan Sherpa Club while Machhindra Club will be docked at least one point in the next season as they failed to climb out of bottom two after losing 3-0 against Tribhuvan Army Club on Sunday.
Going into their last match Three Star desperately required victory to secure third place as they could have been replaced by fourth place Army with a win over Machhindra. But as both the teams won, Three Star finished one point ahead of fourth-place TAC, who rounded up the league with 25 points. Buddha Chemjong and Ranjan Bista struck either side of the break for Three Star at the ANFA Complex ground in Satdobato. At the Halchowk grounds, Bharat Khawas struck twice after interval to add on to first half tally from Tanka Basnet.
The results also confirmed top 11 teams in the 14-team league that does not have provision of relegation. Instead the teams finishing in the bottom two will be deducted one and two points next season. With 36 points from 13 games, Manang Marshyangdi Club have already sealed the title. Sankata have also confirmed the second place with a game to spare.
Nepal APF Club (20 pts) finished behind TAC in fifth and Nepal Police Club (19 pts) sixth. NPC could have dropped one spot down to seventh had Himalayan Sherpa (17) defeated Three Star. Chyasal Youth Club (16 pts) finished eighth, Saraswoti Youth Club (14 pts) ninth, Jawalakhel Youth Club (13 pts) 10th and Brigade Boys Club (9 pts) 11th in the standings.
Three Star took cautious approach and struck both the goals on counter attack. In fact, the Lalitpur-based outfits created only two real chances and converted the both. “We chose to play safely because the third place was at stake,” said Three Star coach Meghraj KC. “We have conceded some matches despite taking the lead. So we took cautious approach as we wanted to finish our campaign on winning note,” added KC.
Unlike Three Star, Himalayan Sherpa chose to play offensively and came close to scoring in the 21st minute, forcing goalie Alan Neupane for a one-handed save to deny Tridev Gurung strike. Three Star took the lead in the 28th minute through Chemjong who struck low at the far post following a Bista pass.
Three Star survived a scare in the 37th minute when Three Star goalkeeper Alan Neupane punched out a Ulrich Siewe header to safety. In the 42nd minute Three Star custodian Neupane made another heroic save to deny Karna Limbu. Neupane helped protect Three Star’s lead yet again in the 83rd minute when the goalkeeper made an acrobatic dive to deny Bhison Gurung’s low strike from the area. Despite all the Sherpa pressure, Bista settled the nerves of Three Star scoring the second goal in the 89th minute. The forward collected the ball from defender Ranjit Dhimal and rounded off the last man—the goalkeeper—Kishor Giri to score the goal.
Himalayan Sherpa coach Subash Limbu lamented on the missed chances. “We played well but failed to utilise chances that came our way,” said Limbu, who was making debut as a coach in the top-tier league this season. “We could have finished above seventh but overall it was satisfactory outcome,” added Limbu.
At Halchowk ground, Tanka Basnet put TAC ahead in the 28th minute before Nepali international Khawas doubled their advantage in the 62nd minute. Khawas sealed the victory with the third goal in the 73rd minute through penalty. It was Khawas’ seventh goal of the league and joined Ranjit Dhimal of Three Star and Olawale Afeez of MMC atop the scorer’s list.
Sankata vs APF (1430 NST)