February 27, 2020 12:41 PM NPT
By: Sanjay Thapa
Players of Three Star Club celebrate a goal during their quarterfinal match of the Sudur Paschim International Invitational Khaptad Gold Cup football tournament against Nawa Janajagriti Youth Club at the Dhangadhi Stadium in Dhangadhi on Wednesday. Photo: Republica
DHANGADHI, Feb 27: Three Star Club scored two goals in the final ten minutes to defeat Nawa Janajagriti Youth Club as the A-Division club advanced into the semifinals of the Sudur Paschim International Invitational Khaptad Gold Cup football tournament on Wednesday.
Sanjok Rai opened the lead in the 80th minute and Ashish Rai sealed the game two minutes later at the Dhangadhi Stadium to send the Satashi Gold Cup runner-up to the last four.
Three Star will face the winner between Himalayan Sherpa Club and Gorkha Boys who will battle in Friday's quarterfinals.
Three Star arrived in Dhangadhi after a tiring 26-hour long travel from Jhapa, but in the field, it led the attacking despite not having adequate rest.
Ashish had almost given Three Star the lead in the 22nd minute when he utilized a pass from Ashok Khawas but his shot went wide.
Janajagriti had an opportunity to take the lead four minutes later from the counter attack. But goalkeeper Purna Chemjong blocked the attempt from Kripo Chudhary.
But Three Star came to life in the final minutes when Sanjok beautifully placed a pass from Nishan Khadka into the net.
But Meghraj KC’s side was not done yet. Two minutes later Ashish doubled the lead with a header sending them to the semis.
Three Star went for more in the 86th minute as Sushil Rai tried his luck from a pass from Ashish but Janajagriti goalie Dil Mani Chaudhary blocked the shot to deny the National League candidate from scoring another goal.
Three Star coach KC was concerned about the hectic schedule and said long travel affected his team’s performance despite the win.
“Our players were tired after a long journey. They could not play very well. Midfielders were not at their best but Janajagriti’s youth players gave a good fight.”
He also hoped his side can play an improved performance in the semifinal.
Three Star captain Bikram Lama was named the man-of-the-match. He received Rs 10,000.
Sudur Paschim Xi has already advanced into the semis defeating Indian club Kanchanga FC.
Defending champion Nepal Police Club will face Armed Police Force in the third quarterfinals on Thursday.
A total of 12 teams from Nepal and neighbor India have participated in the tournament, which will run till March 3.