Giants Dhuku, Sankhamul shocked in National Futsal LeagueDhuku and Sankhamul, the teams qualified as winners and runners up from the Bagmati Province, are among the title favourites on paper.
Big guns Dhuku Futsal Hub and Sankhamul Tusal were dealt a hammer blow in the 'A' Division National Futsal League at the Pokhara covered hall on Tuesday. Dhuku were stunned 5-3 by Dharan's Futsal 5 while Sankhamul shared points for the second match in a row after they were held to a 2-2 draw by Sports Castle of Pokhara.
Dhuku and Sankhamul, the teams qualified as winners and runners up from the Bagmati Province, are among the title favourites on paper. However, their credentials came under scanner as the second round of the tournament completed on Tuesday. Futsal 5's goalkeeper and captain Sumit Kumar Ale made some heroic saves to deny a few scoring chances to Dhuku.
In the entertaining match, Futsal Five overcame an early second minute deficit to beat the Kathmandu-based side. Dhuku took an early lead through Amit Lama before Saroj Tamang restored the parity in the seventh minute as the game headed into break with 1-1 draw.
Prabesh Joshi, who struck twice for Futsal 5 gave the lead six minutes into the restart. But Bikrant Narsingh Rana made 2-2 for Dhuku in the 32nd. Ranjit Gurung netted the third two minutes later while Joshi struck his second in the 37th to widen the gap before captain Karki struck fifth in the same minute for the Dharan-based side almost ending Dhuku's comeback bid. Abhay Rana netted the third goal for Dhuku in the last minute of the match.
"The opponent's goalkeeper came up with excellent saves but losing three points puts us on the backfoot," said Dhuku coach Raj Maharjan who also expressed dissatisfaction over the referee decision. "We need to improve in upcoming matches and all teams in the tournament are equally competent."
In the day's kick off match, Sankhamul Futsal went ahead in the sixth minute after they were gifted an own goal by Kishor Gurung of Sports Castle but Bishon Gurung hit back the equaliser in the 13th minute. Bibek Pandit restored Sankhamul's lead in the 34th. However, the lead evaporated immediately by Anjan Devkota’s goal.
With the outcomes, Sports Castle and Futsal 5 are jointly in second place with four points after two matches. The Rising Club of Dharan lead the standings with six points. Dhuku are jointly in fourth place with three points after a win and a defeat. Sankhamul are third from bottom with two points after as many draws.
Sankhamul coach Prakash Pariyar said that he was happy to share points with a strong side. "We are under pressure as we are yet to win a single match. Both are strong teams and both sides played with high intensity," said Pariyar, who also questioned the referee's capability to officiate the match.
Sports Castle coach Arbin Gurung expressed satisfaction with the outcome and stressed the need for preparations by referees and not just players. "They need to improve a lot," Gurung said.
In another match, Sabin Memorial FC of Pokhara edged Lumbini FC of Rupandehi 3-1 to secure their first win. Abhinash Tamang, Manish Chhetri and Saroj Gurung were on target for Sabin Memorial while Hemanta Gurung struck both the goals for Lumbini.
Sabin Memorial and Lumbini both are jointly in fourth place with three points with a win and a draw.