Three Star Club inched closer to the title of the Madan Bhandari Itahari Gold Cup football tournament with a hard fought 5-3 win on penalties over Tribhuvan Army Club in the semi-finals on Wednesday.
The win also avenged Three Star’s 2-1 defeat against the departmental team in the quarter-finals of the Khaptad Gold Cup on January 12 in Dhangadi. Army had eventually won the title in Dhangadi after defeating Nepal Armed Police Force Club on penalties. The Star will take the winners of the second semi-final between Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) and Garifa Sports Club of Kolkata in final on Saturday. MMC and Garifa will vie on Thursday.
Three Star rallied to salvage a 1-1 draw in the regulation time before the additional 15 minute ended in a 0-0 deadlock. Nepali international Nawayug Shrestha put Army ahead in the 26th minute. Shrestha applied a one-touch strike from close range after he was set by captain Bharat Khawas.
Foreign recruit Ajayi Martins restored parity for Three Star in the 58th minute when he headed home a Sunil Bal corner. Three Star players Ranjit Dhimal, Buddha Chemjong, Nirajan Khadka, Sunil Bal and Ananta Tamang converted all five penalties before their custodian Alan Neupane denied Erik Bista of Army from the spot. Nawayug Shrestha, Santosh Tamang and Deep Lama scored from the spot for Army.
Army coach Nabin Neupane said his team caved in to the opponent’s and lost the match. Three Star coach Meghraj KC was a relieved man after defeating the team he previously handled. “It was a huge challenge to beat a team who train regularly,” said KC.Published: 2018-01-25 10:25:53