Sankhamul set up title clash against Sports CastleThe Kathmandu-based side, who down The Rising Club Dharan 4-3 in extra time in the second qualifier match, take on the host city’s club in the final match today.
Mani Lama was on target as Sankhamul Futsal defeated The Rising Club 4-3 in extra time in the second qualifier match to set up a final battle against Sports Castle in the 'A' Division National Futsal League in Pokhara on Thursday.
Lama, who had played for the national futsal side two years ago, scored a hat-trick and an extra-time winner for the Kathmandu-based side while Bishan Shrestha and Hemanta Thapa Magar netted for the Dharan-based club in an entertaining match at the Pokhara covered hall.
Lama put Sankhamul in front in the 1st minute, pouncing on a mistake by Biku Tamang. Fixo Tamang surrendered the ball near the goal post and Lama fired from the second penalty area past goalie Kesar Limbu into the net.
Shrestha equalised in the 11th minute, slipping a pass from Thapa Magar under the advancing goalie and Sankhamul captain Anish Shrestha.
Lama gave Sankhamul the lead again four minutes later, tapping a pass from Susaan Shrestha.
But Rising fought back after the break and gave Sankhamul a tough time until the final minutes.
Thapa Magar levelled the score again in the 24th minute with a stunning strike leaving Sankhamul goalie Shrestha with no clue and Shrestha put Rising in the leading position in the 28th after a clever free kick from Thapa Magar.
Sankhamul threw everything at stake in search for an equaliser and just as when it seemed Rising were close to avenging their 5-2 league round loss, Lama sent a long-range stunner past Rising goalie Sachin Shrestha to complete his hat-trick in the 40th minute, sending the match into extra time.
Lama then converted a pass from Susaan in the 3rd minute of the 10-minute extra time firing his team into the mouth-watering final of the country's first ever national futsal league.
"We knew this match would be a difficult one because our players have not had enough time to rest and recover," said Sankhamul coach Prakash Pariyar, whose men have played three matches in three days and will face Sports Castle in the final on Friday.
"The schedule is very hectic. The players are tired and not fully fit due to which they have not been able to give their 100 percent in the match. Despite this, they have done their best," he added. "We hope we can continue giving our best performance in the final as well."
But coach Pariyar is aware of the home support for Sports Castle.
“They will have home support in the final, which is obviously going to make the game challenging for us. We are aware of it. But we are working out our plans and strategy,” said Pariyar.
Sports Castle and Sankhamul had played a 2-2 draw in the league round.
Rising coach Yubendra Gurung said he was proud of his team.
"I am proud of my team. They played very well and presented a tough challenge to the opponents. I am happy despite the loss," said Gurung.
Sports Castle had reached the final defeating Rising 8-6 in the first qualifier match on Wednesday. Sankhamul, who had finished third in the standings, had qualified for the second qualifier overcoming another home side Sabin Memorial in the eliminator.