Bangladesh’s SAFF mission crumbles after shocking defeat to Nepal

DHAKA, Sept 8, 2018 (BSS) – Bangladesh’s hope of play semi-final of the SAFF Suzuki Cup vanished into blue as they suffered a 0-2 goal defeat to Nepal in their third and final Group A encounter held on Saturday at Bangabandhu National Stadium here.

Despite being a comfortable position in the points table, the host failed to reach the next round frustrating some 18,000 crowds who came to support Bangladesh from the big bowl.

It was also superb football display by the Nepalese booters who played organised football although, especially in the second half, and after the first goal Nepal did not allow Bangladesh to come back in the match despite their repeated attempts.

After the day’s win, Nepal moved to the semi-final as group A champions with six points from three matches. Both Bangladesh and Pakistan also have six points but Pakistan finished group runners-up by virtue of having better goal difference.

In the day’s match, Nepal went attack in the 14th minute when Sunil Bal’s header off Nirajan Khadka cross from the centre of the box missed to the right.

Bimal Gharti Magar gave Nepal a deserving lead in the 33rd minute when left footed long range free kick found the net after Bangladesh custodian Sahidul Alam failed to grip the ball in his second attempt from the goal line.

Nepal again came close to scoring in the 37th minute when Sujal Shrestha header from the centre of the box off Sunil Bal cross was high and wide to the left.

In a counter attacks, Tutul Badsha left footed shot off a head pass from Mamunul Islam from outside the box was saved by the Nepal custodian at the bottom right corner in the 42nd minute.

After the lemon break, Nepal again launched attack in the 54th minute when skipper Bharat Khawas powerful left footed angular shot from the right side of the box was fisted by Bangladesh custodian Sahidul.

Nawayug Shrestha sealed the victory for Nepal scoring the second goal for his team in the 90th minute. Taking a short pass from Bishal Rai he sent the ball to the net from the centre of the box silencing the crowds in the big bowl.

Nepal played dominating football in the proceeding especially in the second half and notched their deserving victory while Bangladesh failed to utilize the opportunities lack of proper finishing.

Earlier, Bangladesh beat Bhutan 2-0 in their tournament opening match and edged past Pakistan by 1-0 goal in their second group match.

On the other hand, Nepal, despite losing 1-2 goals defeat to Pakistan in their tournament opening match, found their rhythm with their 4-0 thrashing against Bhutan.

Sunday’s match: India vs Maldives 7 pm.