Martyrs Memorial ‘A’ Division League: Three Star, Police open with winsTitle contenders Three Star Club and Nepal Police Club (NPC) opened their Martyrs Memorial ‘A’ Division League football tournament campaign with victories at the ANFA Complex in Satdobato on Thursday.
Title contenders Three Star Club and Nepal Police Club (NPC) opened their Martyrs Memorial ‘A’ Division League football tournament campaign with victories at the ANFA Complex in Satdobato on Thursday.
Three Star registered a 2-1 win over Friends Club while a solitary goal from Ajit Bhandari guided NPC to a 1-0 victory over Jawalakhel Youth Club. The victory fetched winning sides three points each, joining Sankata Club on the winners’ club. Himalayan Sherpa Club will vie against Nepal Armed Police Force Club and Brigade Boys Club will take on Manang Marshyangdi Club on Friday before the first round of the 14-team league wraps up going into festival break.
In an early fixture of the day, star-studded Three Star launched attacks from the outset and netted a goal each in either half through Ranjan Bista and Buddha Chemjong. Substitute Bikash Lama was on scoresheet for Friends in the stoppage time. Friends fielded young and inexperienced players who were making their debut in the League for the first time.
In the early fourth minute, Three Star’s foreign recruit Peter Segun shot wide in one-on-one with Friends Bangladeshi goalie Mohamad Karim.
A minute later, Ranjit Dhimal headed wide from the zone in a Sunil Bal freekick for Three Star who have bolstered their squad with two foreign recruits.
Three Star got the breakthrough in the 17th in a solo effort from forward Bista who sprinted with the ball close from the centre and slammed a low drive at near post from the six-yard box. Friends first move of the match came in the 25 with their skipper Dhiraj Shrestha heading off the target before Three Star’s Ranjit shot inches above the bar in a freekick. Three Star survived a scare when defender Bishnu Sunwar cleared a goal-bound freekick from Saroj Yonjan Lama with advancing Three Star goalie Alan Neupane already beaten.
In the 69th minute, Chemjong’s low header in Sunil Bal’s cross missed the target by a whisker. The hard work finally paid off for Chemjong in the 83rd minute after he unleashed a scorcher from the edge of the area stunning the diving Bangladeshi goalie. Substitute Bikash Lama, an 84th minute replacement for forward Prezen Tamang, cut the deficit in the first minute of 10-minute stoppage time from the crowded zone. Lama tapped in Kiran Bohara’s shot inside the crowded zone to reduce the gap.
Three Star coach Meghraj KC said creating frequent opportunities was positive sign for the team. “We created numerous chances in the match and that’s a bright aspect for us,” said KC adding they were cautious throughout the match after playing the League after a long time. His counterpart Ramesh Maharjan of Friends said inexperience took toll on the team.
“All the players are appearing in the ‘A’ Division League for the first time. They are below 20 years and lacked confidence to compete against a strong side like Three Star,” said Maharjan adding that his side will come with foreign players when the League resumes after break. In late fixture of the day, Bhandari converted Tej Tamang’s cross from the area in the 31st minute to score the all-important goal against Jawalakhel.