Three Star close in on title

- Post Report, Lalitpur
A draw in their last match against Manang will be enough for Three Star to claim the title on ‘away goal’ even if they get tied on 33 points with Army on the final day

Oct 14, 2015-Three Star Club are one point away from the Red Bull National League title following a 3-1 victory over Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club here at the Anfa Complex on Tuesday.

The victory puts Three Star at the top of the table with 32 points from 15 matches intensifying a three-way battle for the title with second-placed Tribhuvan Army Club (TAC) and Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) both in the hunt. Three Star, however, will have less work to do compared to the remaining teams in fray.

The Armymen have 30 points and play a depleted Nepal Police Club (NPC) in the penultimate day on October 16. A victory against NPC will keep them waiting for Three Star’s final match against MMC, who are third in the table with 28 points having left to play two matches. MMC will be desperate for a victory in their penultimate match against NPC on Wednesday to stay alive in title race.

If TAC beat NPC in their final match they move to 33 points, and under these circumstances, a draw for Three Star will be enough to seal the title with an ‘away goal’ advantage. Three Star had held TAC to a 0-0 draw in their home match at the Dashrath Stadium before playing a 1-1 draw in away game at the Anfa Complex.

MMC are left with the toughest job among the three teams needing to win both of their remaining matches.

Three Star coach Rajendra Tamang, however, said his team will set their eyes firmly on a victory in their last game. “If we play for a draw, we have to get defensive and I don’t want to lose the momentum that we have been on. We will play for the win and lift the title at the end of the day,” said Tamang.

In the match, Olawale Afeez provided the impetus scoring two goals in the first half to settle the nerves for Three Star. In an exchange of passes with Bikram Limbu just outside the box, Afeez managed to get hold of the ball cancelling out an interception from Saroj Koirala before firing home the lead in the fifth minute.

The lead doubled in a counter attack move, Afeez once again receiving the pass from Nirajan Khadka and scoring with a low drive beyond goalkeeper Amrit Chaudhary in the 24th minute. APF regrouped after the second half and were duly rewarded five minutes following the resumption.

Ganesh Lawati cut the deficit in a counter attack as his shot towards the near post beat Three Star custodian Kiran Chemjong.

APF were exerting more pressure seeking equaliser but Three Star restored their two-goal lead against the run of play in the 67th minute. Bijay Gurung received a lofted ball from Sagar Thapa’s short free kick and flicked the ball past an advancing Chaudhary scoring in an empty net.

APF coach Krishna Thapa was satisfied with the result despite the defeat. “The score line doesn’t define the scenario of the game. We were

on par with Three Star in terms of ball possession and attack but they (Three Star) made the most out of the opportunities that came their way,” said Thapa.

Published: 14-10-2015 09:27

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