Players of Three Star Club (blue) and Far-western XI in action during a quarterfinal match of the 20th Budha Subba Red Bull Gold Cup football tournament at the Dharan Stadium in Dharan on Tuesday. Photo: Rohit Rai/Republica
DHARAN, Feb 7: The performance inspired by Nirajan Khadka helped Ruslan Three Star Club (TSC) advance into the semifinals of the ongoing 20th Budha Subba Red Bull Gold Cup football tournament with a 4-0 win over Far-western XI on Tuesday.
At the Dharan Stadium, Khadka scored a hattrick for TSC, while Sunil Bal bagged a goal for the A-division team to book a last four place.
TSC will take on Kolkata-based Durgapur Steel Football Club in the second semifinal match on Thursday. Durgapur Steel reached the last four by beating the host Dharan Football Club on sudden death.
Khadka opened the scoring in the seventh minute to give TSC a lead, while he scored his other two goals in the 53rd and in the injury time through a spot kick. Nirajan’s three goal haul was the first by any player in the tournament.
Khadka scored the first goal in a cross from Bal, while he doubled his tally from a Ranjit Dhamal cross. He completed his hattrick when Far-western’s skipper Chetan Tharu was penalized for hand ball in D-area.
Khadka was also involved in the other goal for TAC when his pass led to a goal for Bal as he produced a wonderful goal in the 37th minute. Khadka was named the man-of-the-match and was rewarded with Rs 10,000.
The national players-studded TSC got a series of chance to extend its lead throughout the match, but could not utilize it. Bal’s cross in the 13th minute was headed away by Far-western’s Narendra Chaudhary, while African player Ajayi Martin failed to score in a one-on-one in the first half injury time. Also, Buddha Lama’s shot in the 65th minute was saved by Far-western’s goalkeeper Amant Sheikh.
Despite being heavily beaten, Far-western got a lot of chances to score in the match. Chetan Tharu’s free kick sailed just over the bar in the 21st minute. Also, Maniram Chaudhary’s strong shot in the 34th minute went wide of the target, while African player Aron Donmoh could not head the ball goalwards in the 61st minute. Donmoh’s strong effort after six minutes was blocked by the winning team’s defenders.
TSC head coach Megh Raj KC said that Far-western played well and his team was successful in taking advantage from the weakness of the opponent.
“Far-western is a team who had played in the national league and they performed well because of good preparations. But, we managed to score and win the match,’’ KC said, “We won the match with the help of experienced players as they lacked experience.’’
Far-western’s Chairman and head coach Suresh Hamal said that the lack of effective coordination between foreign players and the defense line was the reason for the loss.
“The team’s coordination became very poor after conceding the first goal. The foreign players and the defense line could not work as expected,’’ Hamal said, “Three Star had eight national team players. The experience also was an impact in the match.’’
The first semifinal match will be played between the defending champion Nepal Police Club (NPC) and CMG Sankata Club.