Chyasal’s Santosh Shahukhala (9) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal during the Martyr’s Memorial A-Division League football match against Sankata Club at the Dasharath Stadium in Tripureshwar, Kathmandu on Monday. Photo Courtesy: ANFA
KATHMANDU, Dec 17: Former national team forward Santosh Shahukhala lamented that the standard of Nepali football has gone further down after he scored a brace to help Chyasal Football Club stun last season’s runner-up Sankata Club 2-0 in the ongoing Qatar Airways Martyr’s Memorial A-Division League in Kathmandu on Monday.
In the third league match played at the Dasharath Stadium in Tripureshwar, captain Shahukhala scored a brace either side of half time as Chyasal totally outmanuvered 10-man Sankata to register its first win of the season.
“The Nepali football has not still moved forward. I have been playing even now, and it feels like the level has gone further down,” 31-year-old Shahukhala complained. “The league is not organized on time and the players can’t maintain the fitness as they don’t train before the tournament. Even I used to do the same, but I changed with my Japan stay.”
“I am targetting to play all the games in the league this time.”
Chyasal, who featured a number of national players including goalkeeper Alan Neupane, Sunil Bal and Nitin Thapa among others, was authorative and straightforward in all part of the game as it controlled the possession to totally outclass Sankata.
The first half felt shallow with both the teams failing to make an opening and creating chances. They looked dismal in the final third. Chyasal opened the scoring as he got a pass inside the box with a good movement, and finished superbly into the bottom corner in the 42nd minute.
There was not much action in the first period, but Sankata looked to up its pace, but the final ball let it down again.
Most of the action took place in the second half as Chyasal got an early chance to add its second as Hemant Thapa Magar hit a shot from outside the box in the 47th minute, but Sankata keeper Binaya Shrestha saved it.
Chyasal was looking to utilize its pace with counter attacking football, while Sankata did not manage to keep the ball in its path with a lot of mispasses and failed to dictate the possession despite having most of the ball.
There was another chance for Chyasal to score as Sunil Bal, who switched his allegiance from Three Star Club in the closed-season, won the ball in the midfield after dribbling past a couple of defenders.
He passed the ball to Amir Shrestha, who gave a superb long pass to an unmarked Shahukhala, but his shot after moving inside the two defenders went wide in the 53rd minute.
Shahukhala was the man of the hour again as he kept on getting chances playing as an inside forward as he hot the ball inside the box, made space for himself with a sharp turn. But his shot was saved five minutes later.
It was a very poor midfield performance from Sankata, and a good pacy game from Chyasal broke all Sankata’s hopes of winning its first game.
The last season’s runner-up looked outclassed, outmanuvered and was outnumbered when Laxman Ruchal conceded two yellow cards in two minutes to get sent off.
After that, Chyasal looked totally dominating as it got chances after chances as Shahukhala added his second in the 86th minute to kill the game.
Amir Shrestha gave a brilliant through ball to him in the left side of the Sankata box and Shahukhala timed his movement to set up his body perfectly to place the ball in the back of the net.
After the game, Santosh’s big brother and Chyasal head coach Bal Gopal said he was nervous ahead of the game as it was his first game in charge in the league.
“I was a bit nervous before the game and the fact that we did not get to field three Japanese players made me even more so. All the players played really well and we should do better in the upcoming games now,” Bal Gopal added, “We are not totally reliant on the foreign players, but we need them to match the other teams in the league.”
“The target is to win the title, of course. We have a good prospect and we will do well once we have all the weapon we need mainly the center back from Japan,” he added. “Santosh is my brother and I am delighted he scored to win the game.”
Earlier on the day, Dinesh Henjan scored nine minutes from time to seal a 2-1 win for the departmental team Tribhuvan Army Club over Friends Club.
In the second league match at the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) Complex, Nawayug Shrestha opened the scoring in the third minute. But, Friends scored an equalizer in the 52nd minute.
Henjan then scored the decisive goal in the 81st minute to register the first win for Army.
On Tuesday, the other departmental team Nepal Police Club will start its league campaign against Himalayan Sherpa Club at the Dasharath Stadium after Saraswati Youth Club takes on New Road Team at the ANFA Complex.