Organised Nepali side go down against IndiaFarukh Choudhary opens the scoring in the 62nd minute and Sunil Chhetri doubles the lead in the 80th for the visitors. Tej Tamang hit back a late goal for the hosts.
A well-organised Nepali side succumbed to a 2-1 defeat against India in the second international friendly football match at the Dasharath Stadium in Tripureshwar on Sunday.
Indian skipper Sunil Chhetri shone for the visitors providing an assist for the first goal and adding the second goal. Tej Tamang hit back a late goal for Nepal before they ran out of time.
Nepal came up with an impressive and well-organised show against the South Asia giants who are 63 places above Nepal in the FIFA rankings. The first of the two friendlies had finished in a 1-1 draw on Thursday.
Nepal not only looked solid defensively, they were well-organised on the attack and midfield fronts despite conceding twice in the second half. Nepal made three changes in the starting line up in comparison to Thursday's first friendly. Coach Abudllah Almutairi started with Manish Dangi in the wing in place of Anjan Bista, Ashis Lama as centre forward in place of Nawayug Shrestha and Sujal Shrestha as left back in place of Suman Aryal.
Nepal created as many as four clear scoring opportunities but failed in the finishing department.
"I don't care for the results, I am happy with the team's performance," Nepal's coach Almutairi said after the match. "It was a perfect game and we were close to scoring five or six goals. But we could not utilise scoring opportunities."
Nepal threatened the Indian post in the 13th minute when midfielder Tej Tamang’s strike on the post deflected off an Indian defender and fell in the way of winger Dangi. But Dangi failed to apply a finishing touch, providing the Indian side an opportunity to clear the ball.
In the 28th, Aashis Lama squandered a scoring opportunity as he failed to connect a header in Ayush Ghalan's pass from a close range.
India's first threatening move came in the 41st minute when Rahim Ali flick-headed to set for Chhetri, and the latter's header on goal was cleared by defender Gautam Shrestha. Chhetri came closer to scoring yet again in the 45th minute before his header in Seriton Fernandes’ pass sailed inches above the bar.
India finally broke the deadlock in the 62nd after skipper Chhetri supplied a perfect pass to an unmarked Farukh Choudhary, the early second half replacement of Bipin Singh Thounaojam, who slotted past Nepal's goalie Kiran Limbu.
Bishal Rai, who replaced Suman Lama in the 43rd, wasted a sitter in the 68th minute as he ended up shooting wide from a close range with only Indian goalie Amrinder Singh as his obstacle after he was laid by forward Nawayug.
India should have been awarded a penalty in the 75th when defender Dinesh Rajbanshi brought down forward Choudhary, the last man inside the box, but match referee Prajwol Chhetri ruled it out. India's coach Igor Stimac reacted furiously against the referee's decision before being shown a yellow.
Two minutes later, winger Dangi tapped wide from the six-yard box with only goalie Singh standing between him and the post, when he was set by Anjan Bista.
India skipper Chhetri doubled the advantage in the 80th in a counter attack after he was supplied by the man-of-the-match Anirudh Thapa. The forward showed his class sprinting the ball from the center and beating goalie Limbu with his low ball strike from the area.
Goalie Limbu who also set a record of winning the highest 74 caps for the national team surpassing the record of former national captain Biraj Maharjan. He was replaced in the 86th minute by Bishal Shrestha, who marked his debut in the national jersey along with midfielder Rajan Gurung.
Nepal cut the deficit a minute after the duo's entry through Tej Tamang's 25-yard strike. The midfielder smashed Gautam Shrestha’s pass set by Bishal Rai leaving India goalie Singh motionless.
India coach Igor Stimac said that the game was much better from both sides in comparison to the first match. "Obviously the pitch was better than in the last game," said the Croatian. "I would like to congratulate the players' attitude and the game was far more than a friendly."
He also claimed that his side should have been awarded a penalty for a foul on Choudhary in the 75th. "I congratulate my players for the attitude and the patience they showed. India was the better side today," he claimed.