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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Nepal thrash B’desh, top group

Women's SAFF Championship

Sabitra Bhandari (left) vying for the ball against Nilufa Yesmin Nila of Bangladesh during their Women’s SAFF Championship at Shahdi Rangasala in Biratnagar on Saturday. Photo: Udipt Singh Chhetry/ THT

Biratnagar, March 16

Nepal defeated Bangladesh 3-0 and finished as Group A winners in the Women’s SAFF Championship here at the Sahid Rangashala today.

Sabitra Bhandari and Manjali Kumari Yonjan scored a goal for Nepal, who were also gifted with an own goal from Bangladeshi defender Masura Parvin. With the win, Nepal finished at the top of the three-team pool with maximum six points, while Bangladesh were runners-up with three points. Bhutan faced two defeats and crashed out of the tournament without scoring a goal.

The win also extended Nepal’s unbeaten run against Bangladesh. In six encounters, Nepal have win five and drawn one.

Nepal opened the scoring in the sixth minute through an own goal from Masura Parvin. The Bangladeshi defender headed into the nets while trying to clear a cross from Anita Basnet leaving goalkeeper Rupna Chakma helpless.

Nepal doubled the lead in the 23rd minute when Sabitra Bhandari beat past Bangladesh goalkeeper Chakma after collecting the ball released by defender Hira Kumari Bhujel.  Bhandari netted her 24th goal in 25 matches and narrowed the gap with Jamuna Gurung, who has scored 25 goals for the country. Anu Lama, who was excluded from the final squad in this tournament, leads the highest scorer’s list with 35 goals.

The home team made it 3-0 in the 28th minute in a beautiful move involving three players. After receiving a pass from skipper NiruThapa outside the penalty box, striker Bhandari released it for Manjali Kumari Yonjan, who fired home with a left-footed shot from 10 yards.

The match slowed down after the cooling break of three minutes at the stroke of half an hour. Both the teams spent much of the time in the midfield. Nepali striker Sabitra Bhandari was unfortunate in the 58th minute as she was denied by a brilliant piece of defending from Masura Parvin after goalkeeper Chakma was already beaten.

In the second half, Bangladesh created more moves than the home team. Nepal goalkeeper Anjila Tumbapo Subba made a brilliant save to deny Mosammat Sirat Jahan, who was fed by substitute Sanjida Akhter, in the 68th minute. Bangladesh came close to scoring in the 90th minute but Mosammat Sirat Jahan hit the woodwork.

Earlier, Nepal missed a couple of scoring chances in the first half. Skipper NiruThapa shot wide in counter attack, while Bangladesh custodian Chakma saved SabitraBhandari’s side-footed shot following a cross from Hira Kumari Bhujel in the 15th minute.

Sabitra Bhandari was replaced by Rekha Paudel in the 86th minute, while Puja Rana made her national team debut when she came in place of Manamaya Limbu in the 83rd minute. Paudel had made the national team debut in the first match against Bhutan. For Bhandari, the replacement was the first time in 20 matches. After playing first five matches as a substitute player in her debut tournament — third SAFF Women’s Championship in 2014 in Pakistan — Bhandari has featured in all the matches played by the national team without being replaced.

Nepal coach Hari Khadka lauded his girls’ performance. “The girls’ played as per the expectation and they were able to follow the team plan,” said Khadka. “We had set a target of scoring within 15 minutes and take control over the match.”

Khadka accepted the pace of the match was reduced after scoring three goals. “But we created moves and did not allow the opponents play freely. The girls really played well and they deserve all the plaudits,” he added.

Bangladesh coach Golam Robbani Choton accepted his side was outplayed by the home team. “Nepal is a strong side and all the players in the team are experienced,” said Choton. “Our players also gave their 100 per cent but that was enough in the match and we need to improve in other matches,” he said.

The coach said Nepal got all three goals due to errors from his defenders. “The defense line was not up to the mark as they committed mistakes in all three goals,: he said. “And Nepal also had the advantage of home crowd.”

On Sunday, India will play against Sri Lanka in the Group B match. Both the teams have already made it to the semi-finals at the expense of the Maldives and the match will decide group winners and runners-up.

The winners will play against Bangladesh, while the runners-up will face Nepal in Wednesday’s semi-final matches.

The post Nepal thrash B’desh, top group appeared first on The Himalayan Times.

from Sports – The Himalayan Times https://ift.tt/2CyMEoL

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