NPC dent Three Star’s second spot hopesNepal Police Club (NPC) dashed Three Star Club’s hopes of at least finishing second in the Martyrs Memorial ‘A’ Division League with a 3-1 win over the Lalitpur-based outfits at the ANFA Complex in Satdobato on Friday.
Nepal Police Club (NPC) dashed Three Star Club’s hopes of at least finishing second in the Martyrs Memorial ‘A’ Division League with a 3-1 win over the Lalitpur-based outfits at the ANFA Complex in Satdobato on Friday.
Earlier in the day, Tribhuvan Army Club (TAC) hammered Saraswoti Youth Club 4-0 to remain in hunt for the second position with their sixth victory of the campaign. With just two matches remaining in the league, Three Star remained unchanged in third spot with 23 points from 11 games. Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) have already sealed the title with 3-1 win over Sankata on Thursday.
Sankata, who trail leaders MMC by eight points, are second with 25. TAC are fourth with 21 and winning their next two matches will give them all the chance to finish second behind the champions-elect MMC. NPC were the only movers of the day climbing to fifth from seventh with 18 points. Himalayan Sherpa and Nepal Armed Police Force Club are tied on 17 points with the former staying sixth.
NPC punished Three Star for their sloppy work and rallied from a goal down to register a victory that would boost the team’s confidence for next season following a series of barren spells. Messoumbe Abang Albert gave Three Star an early lead but NPC hit back through Nir Kumar Rai, Abhishek Rijal and Bhola Silwal.
Three Star dominated the early exchanges when Nirajan Khadka forced goalkeeper Arpan Karki for a diving save in the eighth minute on a freekick from Ranjit Dhimal. Albert then put the Lalitpur-based outfits ahead in the 13th minute heading home a long ball from Khadka, who found the forward inside the area almost from the centre line.
Karki denied Dhimal again punching away a dipping freekick in the 19th minute and just a minute later Rai struck for NPC. Rai took full advantage of a poor display of football from Peter Segun in the 20th minute. The African made a terrible mistake by not passing the ball at the edge and was easily dispossessed by Rai, who made no mistake to score in past helpless custodian Alan Neupane.
Neupane then made a fine save to deny Rai’s powerful shot from the edge of the area minutes before interval. NPC, however, went ahead just two minutes after the resumption with Rijal converting a penalty. Three Star were penalised after Bijay Dhimal handled the ball inside the area.
NPC doubled their lead in the 55th minute following a brilliant work of athleticism from Bhola Silwal. The former national team midfielder caught Bijay Dhimal napping after the defender slowly reacted to a pass from skipper Bikram Lama. Silwal outpaced Dhimal from his own defence line to intercept the ball and made an excellent run to shoot over an advancing Neupane from just outside the area.
TAC’s win revolved around Khawas, who was involved in three of the four goals they scored. The Armymen struck in the sixth minute following a rally of passes before Nawayug Shrestha produced a diving header to convert a cross from Dipak Gurung. TAC doubled their lead from penalty spot after Sushan Lama was shown marching orders for his second bookable offence for a vicious tackle on Khawas inside the area in the 29th minute.
The national team striker himself stepped in to score from the spot, sending goalkeeper the wrong way. Saraswoti tried hard to get back into the game after the resumption but it was TAC who struck again. Khawas scored with a header from a tight angle on a cross from Shrestha. Khawas himself was involved in Saraswoti’s own goal after his cross got deflected off Kadiri Ibrahim and headed into the nets in the 80th minute.