Sports

Three Star set NPC title battle

Budha Subba Gold Cup

- PRADEEP MENYANGBO, DHARAN

Three Star Club set the Budha Subba Gold Cup title showdown with Nepal Police Club (NPC) after a 1-0 win over Durgapur Steel FC of Kolkata in the second semi-final match at the Dharan Stadium on Thursday.

Substitute Bishnu Gurung netted the winner in the dying moments for the game for the Lalitpur-based outfits. The result meant the two teams will play for the title for the second time in a week. NPC had defeated Three Star 1-0 in the final of the Aaha-Rara Gold Cup in Pokhara on Saturday. NPC are already in the final with a 2-1 win over Sankata Club on Wednesday.

The four-time champions Three Star squandered several scoring chances as they look threatening from the onset. The Lalitpur-based outfits came close to scoring in the 16th minute when Ananta Tamang headed wide of the target following a Buddha Chemjong cross. Durgapur responded with Bishal Mantu forcing custodian Alan Neupane to punch the ball to safety in the 26th minute.

In the 35th minute, a freekick from Rajin Dhimal skied above the bar and four minutes later Nirajan Khadka ended up with a feeble shot. Moments after that Shrestha headed off the target in Bikram Lama’s freekick as Three Star kept searching for the goal.  

As Three Star went charging forward, it left their backline vulnerable as skipper Lama was called into action to clear a goal-bound Manish Thapa strike in the in the 41st minute. Three Star was unlucky when Khadka’s attempt rebounded of the upright in the 72nd minute. Six minutes later Ajayi Martins headed off target and Buddha Lama was later denied by visiting Durgapur goalkeeper Bishal Khoit.

Gurung, the 81st minute replacement for Ananta Tamang, rescued Three Star when he scored in the third minute of four-minute of stoppage time. Durgapur goalie Khoit failed to properly gather the initial shot from Gurung, who was in hand to score in the second attempt.

Three Star coach Meghraj KC was not pleased by the performance of the team, who were crowned champions of the Itahari Gold Cup on January 27. “It was by far the worst performance of the team in the last 12 matches,” said KC.  “Our players came under tremendous pressure. They were needlessly in hurry to score goals and in the process wasted numerous scoring chances.”

 KC Durgapur counterpart Pintu Sarkar said his side put on a weak performance.

Published: 2018-02-09 08:51:50