KATHMANDU, Nov 11: Top-tier Nepali football club Three Star failed to lift the title of 33rd Governor´s Gold Cup football tournament as it lost 3-0 to Border Security Force (BSF) of India in tie-breaker in the final held at the Paljor Stadium in Sikkim, India on Sunday.
Anil Ojha, who scored a brace in the semifinal, shot wide while BSF goalkeeper Machhinder Singh saved spot kicks by Sandeep Rai and Biraj Maharjan during the tie-breaker. BSF´s Ekka, Sarabjit Singh and Mandeep Singh converted the first three penalties.
The match was taken to penalty shootout after the regulation time ended in a goalless draw.
Three Star´s newly-appointed coach Pradeep Humagain attributed the defeat to absence of strikers. "Our first choice striker Santosh Sahukhala was sent off in the semifinal and young forward Anil Gurung was booked twice during the tournament. Their absence proved costly for our side," Humagain told Republica. "We could have won the match if one of the forwards was available for the final. Unfortunately, we lost the final in tie-breaker," he added.
Humagain claimed that his side had maintained ball possession but could not penetrate and create chances. "The opposition was defensive but we could not break the deadlock within the regulation time," said Humagain.
Three Star wasted some scoring opportunities. BSF goalkeeper Machhinder Singh stopped Bijay Gurung´s header in the 10th minute and saved Anil Ojha´s free-kick in the 15th minute. A minute later, Bijay Dhimal´s header in a cross from Ojha sailed just above the bar. Ojha wasted another chance in the 43rd minute and was denied by the BSF goalie in the 72nd minute.
In the 80th minute, goalie Singh punched Yogesh Gurung´s header in a cross from Rabi Thapa while Biraj Maharjan´s shot on the rebound sailed above the bar.
Three Star had defeated United Sikkim 2-1 in the quarterfinal and Bhawanipore FC 2-1 in the semifinal.
"I´m satisfied with the overall performance but I´m unhappy to lose the final in tie-breaker," said Humagain. "We will start our preparations for the Martyrs Memorial League right after the Tihar festival and the tournament has exposed the areas we have to focus on," he added.
Gurung adjudged player-of-the-final
Three Star´s midfielder Bijay Gurung was adjudged the best player of the final. Gurung was awarded IRs 5,000 and a television set. Gurung said he was happy to receive the individual award but unhappy to lose the final.