Yesterday two Nepal’s heavyweight football team Manang Marshyangdi Club(MMC) and Three Star Club faced each other in Martyrs Memorial A division league. MMC is the most successful club in Martyrs timesMemorial League, they’ve won the league 7 times while Three Star club has won the tournament 4 times. Due to some reasons, the Martyrs Memorial league was stopped since MMC the last win the league in the 2013-14 season. After that New league called "Nepal National League" was inaugurated for two years but was also stopped in 2015 after devastating Earthquake stroked Nepal and made the damages in all around the country. The Earthquake also made some damage on Nepal national team football stadium “Martyr Dasrath Rangasala Stadium ” where these leagues were conducted.
These two teams have faced each other first time in the league stage since playing last time in 2015 National League. The 2015 National League winner Three Star played one draw and won one match over MMC in that season. Since then these two teams have met 7 times in different domestic cup games but in all 7 occasions, Three Star beat the MMC. However, in yesterday’s most awaited match of the season, MMC finally beat their rival Three Star after 4 years and reached at the top of the table with 9 points from 3 games. Three-star lost their first match of the season by 2-1 after winning first two games. Now after yesterday's lost, Three Star is behind 3 points from the leader MMC.
Two watch the match between two giants of Nepali football, plenty of Nepali football fans made their presence at ANFA football ground. The match started at a very high tempo, both teams started to play attacking football. The first real chance came to the Three Striker Martins who failed to score from a very close range. In the 11th minute of the match, MMC player Anjan Bista scored a beautiful volley from a very tight angle to hand MMC a lead in the very early stage. Anjan goal reminds me of the Jamie Vardy’s volley against the Liverpool in Leicester City's title-winning season. Seven minutes later, MMC extended their lead to two goals. This time MMC extend their lead from Three Star defender Sunil Dhamala’s own goal. When Three Star goalkeeper Alan Neupane came to challenge the Manang striker Adeleja out of the box and tried to clear the ball it hits on back of Bijaya Dhamala and unfortunately went into their own goal post despite their captain Bikram Lama chased to stop the ball from clearing the goal line. The first half ended MMC 2 and Three Star 0.
The second half started in the same fashion, Three Star continuously started to press from both flanks of the pitch. They started to create more opportunities compared to the first half. MMC goalkeeper Bishal Shrestha made a couple of brilliant saves to deny the Three Star shots. In the 61st minute, Three Striker Martins missed the golden opportunity to narrow the MMC lead. After a beautiful chest control inside the six-yard box in Dhamala’s cross, Martins failed to connect his acrobatic bicycle attempt which Manang goalkeeper easily collected. In a dying stage of the match, Three Star defender Damala who already scored an own goal in the match pulled one back for Three Star from the penalty spot. After Manang defender Muhammed Asif pulled the Three Star striker Martins inside the box, FIFA referee Sudish Pandey gave the penalty to Three Striker which was converted by Dhamala and made the scoreline 2-1. In a highly time wasted game with injuries, the fourth official added six minutes of added time. But, Three Star players couldn’t beat the Manang goalkeeper and lost the match against MMC after 4 years by 2-1.
The MMC winger Heman Gurung was declared a man of the match and collected 10 thousand Nepali rupees for his man of the match performance.