Sports Castle crowned ‘A’ Division Futsal championsThe Pokhara side defeat Kathmandu’s Sankhamul 4-2 in the final match to secure the trophy of the first edition of the ‘A’ Division National Futsal League.
Sports Castle have clinched the title of the 'A' Division National Futsal League defeating Sankhamul Futsal 4-2 in the final match in Pokhara on Friday.
In an entertaining match at the Pokhara covered hall, Kishor Gurung scored a hat-trick and Bijay Gurung hit one to fire the home side to the title of the first ever national futsal league. Mani Lama and Laxman Thapa Magar netted for the Kathmandu-based side.
Bijay put Sports Castle in front in the 6th minute, smashing home the opener inside the far post after he was set up by Khim Raj Gurung near the first penalty area.
Laxman equalised five minutes later in a counter-attack, beating the advancing goalie Biswas Poudel after Mani brilliantly connected him to the right with a one-touch pass.
Kishor then combined with Bijay to give Sports Castle the lead again just before the break following a defensive error from Sankhamul.
As Susaan Shrestha struggled to clear the ball in the Sankhamul half, Kishor tricked Susaan and passed the ball to Suraj Gurung, who quickly linked with unmarked Bijay to the right. Bijay then set up Kishor inside the first penalty area and the pivot coolly tapped in leaving goalkeeper Anish helpless.
The man-of-the-match Kishor furthered the lead quickly after the break and Sankhamul pivot Susaan was at the fault again. Sumit Shrestha dispossessed Susaan in the mid area and sprinted towards the Sankhamul box before setting up Kishor, who poked his second goal of the game giving the goalie no chance.
Mani cut the deficit in the 23rd minute. Susaan amended his mistakes launching a quick counter-attack and set up Mani to the left who powered his right-footed shot into the net despite Sports Castle goalie managing to block the shot.
But it was Kishor on the target again. Sankhamul threw everything at power in search of an equaliser, even sending goalie Anish in the attack line. With the clock ticking, Susaan desperately attempted a shot at post but his blocked shot fell into the path of Kishor, who arrowed from distance into an empty net to complete his hat-trick and put the result beyond doubt.
"This is one of the most memorable moments of my career," Sports Castle coach Bishnu Gurung, who was declared the best coach of the tournament, told the Post. "The best coach award has given me more energy," he added.
"I have completed the A licence training course. I used the experience during the competition to a great output.”
Bishnu also credited home fans with the title-clinching victory. "The supporters also laid the foundation for our win," he said.
"The league has started a new era in the age of futsal. We must give continuity to this. This tournament has opened opportunities to new players. It will help us form a strong national team."
Sankhamul coach Prakash Pariyar blamed their hectic fixtures for the loss.
"The final match was our fourth in four days. Due to the continuous schedule, our players have not had time to rest and recover," said Pariyar. "The organisers should pay attention to game schedules next time."
"We had come to the competition with our eyes set on the title. The opponents played a balanced game and we had many weaknesses. But we have learned a lot from this tournament," he added.
The winners Sports Castle took home a cash prize of Rs1 million while the runners-up Sankhamul bagged Rs500,000.
Sankhamul's Mani and Anish were named best ala and best goalkeeper while Futsal 5 Dharan's Bijay Shrestha was declared best fixo. Each of them received Rs25,000.
The tournament began on September 18. A total of ten teams—Sports Castle and Sabin Memorial of Pokhara; The Rising Club and Futsal 5 of Dharan; Sankhamul Futsal, Dhuku Futsal, Sky Goals and Prabhatpheri Youth Club of Kathmandu; and Lumbini Futsal and Jharana Sports Club of Rupandehi—had participated in the tournament.
Along with Sports Castle and Sankhamul, Sabin Memorial and Rising had reached the playoffs while Lumbini and Jharana were relegated.
Emerging player: Sumit Shrestha (Sports Castle)
Best fix0: Bijay Shrestha (Futsal 5)
Best coach: Bishnu Gurung (Sports Castle)