Sports Castle top Rising Club in 14-goal thriller to reach finalKishor Gurung and Sumit Shrestha hat-tricks help the home giants come from behind to beat the Dharan-based club 8-6 in the qualifier 1 of the ‘A’ Division National Futsal League.
Kishor Gurung and Sumit Shrestha scored hat-tricks as Sports Castle advanced into the final of the 'A' Division National Futsal League after defeating The Rising Club 8-6 in a dramatic qualifier 1 in Pokhara on Wednesday.
The home giants, who had given away their unbeaten run in a “strategic loss” against the same opponents in the final round of the league, played under pressure throughout the match but showed determination as the title favourites with an outstanding fight back scoring three times in the final two minutes to win the game.
Kishor put Sports Castle in front in the 4th minute and Bijay Gurung doubled the lead two minutes later but the home side gave away their two-goal cushion and, instead, fell behind 3-2 going into the break.
Hemanta Thapa Magar cut the deficit in the 9th minute and Milan Rai equalised in the 12th minute before Sudip Gurung gave Rising a one-goal lead a minute later. Hemanta scored his second goal of the game three minutes after the break to stretch the lead for the Dharan-based side.
Kishor and Sumit scored two goals in the 28th to level the score 4-4 but Rising soon reopened the gap through goals from Milan and Sudip in the 31st and 32nd minutes.
However, coach Yubendra Gurung's men could not hold on to their lead against a team backed by home supporters.
Sumit narrowed the gap in the 34th minute and Suraj Gurung breathed life into Sports Castle with a 39th minute equaliser.
Kishor then caused a wild celebration at the Pokhara covered hall with a close-range finish in the 40th and Sumit put the result beyond doubt, heading the ball into an open net.
“Rising gave us a tough fight,” conceded Sports Castle assistant coach Arbin Gurung. "But I had trust in my players and the team work. I knew they [Sports Castle] would fight back.”
Rising still have a chance to set up a rematch against the finalists when they take on Sankhamul Futsal in the second qualifier on Thursday. The final of the country's first ever national futsal league is scheduled for Friday.
"Our team played better than I expected today… probably one of our best performances. We were leading the match most of the time. Unfortunately, the injuries to Dorje Tamang and Biku Tamang made us mentally weak. We could not stop Sports Castle from fighting back and winning the game due to injuries to our key players," said the Rising coach. Biku had to be replaced in the 37th minute after he collided with his own goalkeeper Kesar Limbu.
"Biku’s injury looks serious. Without Biku and Dorje, it will be difficult for us in the next match but we will give our 100 percent," he added.
Sankhamul secured their place in the second qualifier with a 3-2 victory over another home-based club Sabin Memorial in the eliminator later in the day thanks to a brace from Krijal Khadka.
Jenish Prajapati put the Kathmandu-based side in the 11th minute and Krijal doubled their lead in the 24th minute.
Saroj Gurung cut the deficit in the 27th minute but Krijal scored again in the 30th to further their advantage. Manoj Gurung tried to bring Sabin Memorial back into the game in the 35th minute but Sankhamul held on to their lead to avenge their Tuesday’s 3-1 loss.
“We lost against Sabin Memorial yesterday [in the final league round] but that game gave us the opportunity to study the opponents. We changed our match strategy and the result… we were victorious,” said Sankhamul coach Prakash Pariyar.
“We have a hectic schedule. Our players have no time to rest and recover because of continuous fixtures. We have a qualifier match against Rising on Thursday and if we win, we will have to battle against Sports Castle in the final the next day.”
“Despite this, we will try to give our best,” he added.