Bista’s late strike fires Nepal to victory against PakistanThe forward’s 83rd minute goal gives Rohit Chand’s side a 1-0 friendly win.
A late goal from Anjan Bista helped Nepal see off Pakistan 1-0 in their international friendly football match at the Dasharath Stadium in Kathmandu on Wednesday.
Nepal were celebrating their 50th international match at their home ground and Bista put the icing on the cake when he caught the Pakistani defenders napping, and slipped into the six-yard box to tap home a long range cross from Sunil Bal in the 83rd minute after a good work from Dinesh Rajbanshi.
Bal had come as a second-half substitute replacing Ayush Ghalan in the 72nd minute.
Bista’s 11th international goal means he joins former national team captain Hari Khadka as the second-highest scorer in Nepali football history. Nirajan Rayamajhi holds the record for most international goals with 13 to his name.
Nepal played their first official international match at the Dasharath Stadium at the 1984 South Asian Games, where the Gorkhalis had a dream campaign—winning 4-0 against the Maldives in their first ever match at the home ground and becoming eventual champions following their 4-2 win over Bangladesh in the final.
Wednesday’s match was the first for Rohit Chand as a captain and Prabesh Katuwal as a caretaker coach.
Chand wore the captain’s armband in the absence of goalkeeper Kiran Kumar Limbu, who is playing for the Punjab FC in India’s second-tier football competition I-League.
Deep Karki took over the duty of guarding the post against Pakistan.
Since the departure of former coach Abdullah Al Mutairi, Nepal have remained without a coach. Pradip Humagain led charge of the national team as an acting coach in a 3-1 friendly win against Bangladesh in September thanks to a hat-trick from forward Bista.
And Bista was on target again on Wednesday that saved the blushes of Nepal in Katuwal’s first match in charge in a dull display in front of nearly 7000-strong crowd.
“Credit to the whole team…they deserve it,” said the player-of-the-match Bista after the match. “I would also like to thank the Nepali fans for their mind-blowing support.”
Pakistan were playing their first international match in more than three years due to Covid-19 pandemic and FIFA suspension, and had called up four Denmark-based players.
“We are very happy to make a comeback in international action,” said Pakistan coach Shahzad Anwar.
“This is my fifth time in Nepal and I feel great to see the response of the Nepali football supporters,” the coach added.
Despite the squad boasting international club experience in captain Hassan Bashir, goalkeeper Yousuf Butt, playmaker Adnan Mohammed and defender Abdullah Iqbal, Pakistan lacked coordination.
Nepal weren’t much better either. But after a tedious first half, Bista took full advantage of Pakistan flaws to give Nepal their sixth win in 16 matches against the Shaheens. Four matches between them have ended in a draw.
Bista said his side committed a lot of mistakes in the first half. “We discussed this in the changing room and planned to up the ante after the break. We built-up the game as per the plan and were able to break the deadlock finally,” Bista said.
About his feat as the joint-second highest scorer, Bista said, “I am only focusing on the game, not the high score.”
Anwar said he was happy with his team’s performance.
“I am very satisfied with the game our boys performed against Pakistan,” he said. “We will do our best in the next match.”