Sankhamul end Rising’s winning streakSankhamul beat leaders Rising 5-2, Sabin Memorial thump Jharana 7-1 while Dhuku fail to win third match in a row.
Sankhamul Futsal ended the winning run of leaders The Rising Club with a 5-2 victory while Sabin Memorial thumped Jharana Sports Club 7-1 to become joint topper on the leaderboard alongside Rising in the 'A' Division National Futsal League at the Pokhara covered hall on Friday.
Pre-tournament favourites Dhuku Futsal Hub failed to eke out victory for the third match in a row after they were held to a 4-4 draw by relegation strugglers Prabhatpheri Youth Club. Their only victory came in the opening match against Sabin Memorial.
Krijal Khadka struck twice for the Kathmandu-based Sankhamul, one of the title favourites, who registered back to back victories after sharing points in the first two matches. A hat-trick by Abhinash Ghising inspired Sabin Memorial to a comfortable win as they joined Rising Club on top of the standings.
Following the outcomes, Pokhara's Sabin Memorial and Dharan-based Rising Club are level on nine points on top of the table after playing their fourth game. They both have won three and lost one match each. They could drop to second position if third placed Sports Castle win their next fixture against Lumbini Futsal of Rupandehi on Saturday.
Sankhamul, with two wins and draws each, climbed one spot up to third with eight points while Rupandehi-based relegation strugglers Jharana are at the bottom without a point. Dhuku have only four points and are seventh on the table while Prabhatpheri have managed to get their first point in the tournament after tying their Friday’s match.
Sankhamul coach Prakash Pariyar expressed satisfaction with his side's progress in the tournament.
"The team is gradually getting balanced and they have also become familiar with the mat surface. The pass accuracy is also getting better," said Pariyar. "The match was vital for us and we are yet to play against tough opponents in our upcoming games."
Rising coach Yubendra Gurung owed the defeat to injuries of his key players and poor judgment by the match referee.
"As we have been one of the best sides, we feel like everyone is against us. Our players are given yellow cards one after another as if the referees have some animosity with us," said Gurung.
Khadka put Sankhamul ahead in the 11th minute before going into the break and added his second six minutes into the restart. Mani Lama, Aruj Singh, and Susaan Shrestha were also on target for them. Nagen Rai and Sudip Gurung scored for Rising in the second half.
In the second match of the day, Tamang scored three goals in quick succession in the first half for Sabin Memorial as they went into the break with 3-1 lead against Jharana. Jitesh Gurung scored the only goal for Jharana in the sixth minute. Manish Sedai struck twice for Sabin Memorial while Sunil BK added another.
Sabin Memorial coach Rajendra Tamang said that his side exploited weaknesses of the opponents.
"The game went as per our expectations. There were many weaknesses in the opponent and they were also less experienced than us. We played our natural game," he said.
Tamang's counterpart Nirmal Thapa of Jharana said that his side was under pressure after failing to open accounts in the point table. "The players could not play well and they also lacked match fitness. Three players including the goalkeeper are injured," Thapa said.
Teams file complaint against referees
All 10 participating teams of the 'A' Division National Futsal League have filed a joint complaint against what they have called “immature and poor referee judgment” to the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) on Friday.
Dhuku Futsal Hub coach Raj Maharjan handed over a seven-point memorandum on behalf of the clubs to Binod Gurung, the head of ANFA Futsal Committee. The club have blamed that poor and biased judgment of referees have saddened the teams that were excited to participate in the first ever national futsal tournament.
The tournament also serves as qualifiers to pick the player for the national team.
The teams have demanded that the referees amend their weaknesses or else they will walk out of the tournament.
"Poor refereeing will have a negative impact on the whole tournament and we urge ANFA to amend the weaknesses on the decision making part," read the memorandum.
After numerous flaws in the qualifiers itself, we have demanded that coaches and managers of all teams hold a meeting with the referees. But ANFA turned a deaf ear to us," said Maharjan, who is also the president of Nepal National Futsal Entrepreneurs. "We could show the video footage of where the referees have made mistakes."