KATHMANDU, Jan 17: The title favorites Manang Marshyangdi Club and Three Star Club may have faced some setbacks and have gone behind the leader Machhindra Club, but the heavyweights will fancy their chances to cause a setback when the two face in the seventh round on Saturday.
With that, the game can see the losing side fall further behind Machhindra as the club faces a winless Himalayan Sherpa Club to kickstart the seventh round.
Manang, who is still one of the two unbeaten teams in the league, is in the third place with 12 points, one behind both Machhindra and the departmental team Tribhuvan Army Club.
Winning three and drawing three games in a surprise turn of events when it two unconvincing draws against strugglers Friends Club and Himalayan Sherpa Club, who is yet to win a league game this season.
On the contrary, Three Star has been pretty unconvincing and to add to that, it has also showed signs of conceding the league and aims to finish in the top four this season.
Selling most of its players to Machhindra which includes fullback Bijay Dhimal, Ranjit Dhimal, Buddha Chemjong and Peter Segun among others, it did not show the signs of a big club failing to hold on to its key players, but head coach Megh Raj KC explains, “We have planned to give chances to our young players and develop them.”
Three Star currently is fourth with 10 points from three draws and a draw, but losses against Army and Friends has shown there are signs that need to be addressed after going three points behind Machhindra just after six rounds.
Manang is the favorite in the Friday’s clash with the team still to lose a game this season. Three Star will have to stop Manang’s pace going forward like Friends did in the 1-1 draw, but Manang fans are still reluctant to celebrate early as forward Anjan Bista has not turned on since he came back after a 45-day ban from the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA).
Three Star has been sluggish going forward as it has only scored five goals in six matches and has conceded four already, which is just seven fewer than what it did in the entirety of last season.
But, anywhere the result between Three Star and Manang goes, the teams around it will surely want to change their places with the other exciting fixtures of the round.
The other departmental team Nepal Police Club and Jawalakhel Youth Club will fancy their chances to get a win in the second match of the round and go ahead of Three Star Club. With both the team having eight points, a win will see the sides have more points than Three Star, if it loses against Manang. Even a draw between Manang and Three Star will see either of Jawalakhel and Police go ahead of the team on goal difference.
New Road Team also has eight points, and it has a favorable fixture against the Armed Police Force (APF) Club. However, the struggling APF side will want to get back from a 4-2 humiliation at the hands of Sankata Club, who also has eight points and will look to cause an upset to Brigade Boys Club, who has seven points.
The result in these games can see a big turnaround in the league in this round.
In the other matches, 12th-placed Friends Club will face Saraswati Youth Club, who has lost five times already this season. Likewise, Army, who can go two points clear at the top with a win over Chyasal Youth Club, should Machhindra lose against Himalayan Sherpa.