• Alasdair Howorth

Paro United 3-1 Druk Stars. Druk Stars relegated, but United keep slim survival hopes alive

Kinzang Chophel scored a perfect hattrick to give all three points to Paro United after easing past a lacklustre Druk Stars side.

Both sides headed into this match knowing that if they were to keep any hopes of avoiding relegation back into the Super League they needed a win. That was apparent as both sides played some nervy football in what was a scrappy and frenetic game.

Neither side created much in the opening 15 minutes with the best chance falling to Chophel in the 11th minute after a defensive mix up on the edge of the Stars box gave him an opening, but he was unable to keep his snatched his shot on target. He didn't have to wait long to redeem himself though, bagging the opening goal of the game 5 minutes later. Midfielder Kaka Tshering whipped an in-swinging corner from the left and found Chophel at the back post who nodded in from 6 yards.

United started dominating the game while creating few clear cut chances. With a 4-2-2-2 being employed by Kinley Tobden, Druk Stars centre midfielders were constantly being denied space and unable to dictate the game. However, when Phurpa and Yeshi, the two central midfielders in the Stars' 4-4-2 were able to get on the ball they were progressing the ball well up the pitch and starting to cause United problems. They finally got their reward in the 30th minute when after some good work in the centre of the pitch, right back and captain Tsenda played a superb incisive pass releasing striker Kezang down the right channel. Kezang's excellent low cross into the 6-yard box was deflected into his own net by centre back Tobgay.

It wasn't until the 77th minute that another goal was scored and it was United who once again took the league. With both sides becoming more and more direct it was no surprise that the goal came from a cross from deep which after a scramble in the box fell to the feet of Chophel who made no mistake by banging in a near post finish.

With Druk Stars chasing the game their defensive structure was starting to leave glaring gaps and it proved fatal as Chophel completed his hat trick. From a Druk Stars corner, the ball was cleared up to winger Zangpo. He hit an excellent first time pass on the turn to send Chophel through. With all the time in the world Chophel clipped a lovely finish over the onrushing keeper to take the game out of reach of Druk Stars with 7 minutes remaining.

There was only ever going to be one Man of the Match for this game. Beyond his 3 goals Chophel had an excellent match . His movement in the channels was superb and he constantly carved out space for his midfielders to move into. He was by far the most threatening player on the pitch and perhaps could have scored one or two more goals.

The result confirms relegation for Druk Stars, who looked good in spells, but were unable to keep up with a team clearly more up for the match. It is hard to blame the players from Druk after the ban of their head coach and manager just a couple weeks ago. The side performed significantly better than they did before Namgay left the club, but once again were let with nothing to show for it.

For Paro United, the win leaves them six points off Transport United and safety from relegation. With just three games remaining for the Thai owned club, it is still a huge task that would require three wins from their final three matches and for other sides to slip up. However, they will take confidence from a solid performance, and a centre forward clearly hungry or goals.

Stats have Paro United on the left and Druk Stars on the right. Full Match and highlights can be viewed below or at MyCujoo.tv.


All photos are courtesy of the Paro United Facebook page. Stats taken from mycujoo.tv/en/ and league table taken from livescore.football365.com.

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