Nepal off to winning start in SAFF U-20Goals from Gurung, Suwal, Chhunju and Nakarmi give Meghraj KC’s side a 4-0 victory over the Maldives in India.
Nepali youth team made a flying start to their SAFF Under 20 Championship defeating the Maldives 4-0 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, India, on Monday.
Dipesh Gurung, Sugam Suwal, Kritish Ratna Chhunju and Managya Nakarmi hit the targets for Nepal who piled consistent pressure from the start and went into the break with a 1-0 cushion.
Nepal will now take on Sri Lanka in the five-team tournament played under round robin league format. The top two teams at the end of the league will play in the final set for August 5.
After missing as many as four scoring chances, Nepal’s pressure was rewarded three minutes before the interval through Gurung. The forward, left unmarked, unleashed a perfect scorcher from 30-yard at the far post after he found a ball parried by goalie Shaihan Ali in his bid to clear captain Ayush Ghalan strike.
Suwal doubled the advantage in the 57th with a cool finish from the area as the unmarked winger collected Chhunju’s pass and beat goalie Ali with a well placed low strike. Chhunju made it 3-0 five minutes later from the spot after Maldives defender Hussain Shaavin tipped captain Ghalan inside the area. Chhunju stepped forward and smashed at the left bottom.
Nepal sealed the comprehensive victory in stoppage time through Nakarmi, the 82-minute replacement of Chhunju. He scored in his second successive attempt from the area after custodian Ali blocked his first attempt but failed to clear the danger, providing Nakarmi an opportunity to tap from close range.
After his side’s victory, Nepal coach Meghraj KC said that the outcome was the result of hard work his side put into the game. “We worked really hard and the preparation was also sound,” KC said. “It was our first game on the pitch and many players were playing the game for the first time. We hope that the next match will be much better.”
When asked if his side was close to the final KC said, “It is too early to think of the final and we will focus on our next game.”
Maldives coach Ahmed Sakir said that Nepal were a much better team than his side. “We got two or three open chances but failed to convert them,” he said. “There are lots of things we need to improve.”