Nepal lose 4-1, crash outNepal succumbed to the might of India in a 4-1 defeat that saw them crash out of the Saff Championship group stage here at the Trivandrum International Stadium on Sunday.
Nepal succumbed to the might of India in a 4-1 defeat that saw them crash out of the Saff Championship group stage here at the Trivandrum International Stadium on Sunday.
Needing an outright victory, Nepal had a dream start in the game when Bimal Gharti Magar struck in the third minute ending Nepal’s 11-match goal drought. But India hit back with two goals from Chhangte Lallianzuala and one each from Rowlin Burges and Sunil Chhetri.
Winless Nepal finished at the bottom of the three-team Group ‘A’ standings, while India qualified as pool winners with six points from two matches. Sri Lanka, who had stunned Nepal 1-0 before losing to India 2-0, followed the hosts as runners-up with three points. Afghanistan and Maldives have qualified from Group ‘B’.
Nepal coach Patrick Aussems was not ready to admit they were outplayed, particularly in the second half, by what the scorelines suggested. “This (crashing out) will definitely sting Nepali football but there are no grievances for today’s match. We lost a lot with the defeat in our first game (against Sri Lanka),” said Aussems.
India were left stunned when Nawayug Shrestha received a long ball from midfield and penetrated the India defense before his shot hit the post. The rebound fell right in front of Gharti Magar who made no mistake converting with a deft touch.
It was Nepal’s first goal in 27 months after Jumanu Rai had scored against India in the 2013 Saff Championship group stage game.
The early goal woke up India from their slumber and began taking control. Borges struck an equaliser launching a missile from a crowded Nepali penalty area with defenders unable to judge the direction of the ball. The equaliser was enough for the hosts to exert more pressure and, except for a couple of long range efforts in the second half, Nepal were nowhere near to India.
Aussems said his side has no other option than to go for attack. “I was quite aware of the danger but we had no other option than to take risk in the game,” said Nepal’s Belgian coach.
Chhetri put India ahead in the 68th minute taking full advantage of a defensive lapse with Jitendra Karki failing to properly mark the Indian skipper, who nudged a cross from Hali Charan Narzary to score with an ease. Lallianzuala then produced two beautiful goals to kill
Lallianzuala had his shot cleared by Aditya Chaudhary from the goalline but the forward produced a stunning goal with some display
of dribbling skills before powering past Nepali custodian Kiran Chemjong at the top corner. He made it 4-1 in the 90th minute with a glancing header.
India coach Stephan Constantine said it was tough match for his side. “Nepal always play a better game against India. They did it today and will repeat in the future as well. It was not easy for us although the final scores suggest otherwise,” said Constantine.
Aussems wanted to look towards the future now. “This is a new team and we cannot expect anything big so early from the them. Our boys have earned a lot of experience from this tournament, this is an achievement for us. If we look after this team properly, we will get a strong team in future. I am proud of the performance my boys have given here,” said Aussems.
n Nepal midfielder Anjan Bista tries to dodge an Indian player during their Saff Championship Group A match at the Trivandrum International Stadium in Trivandrum, India on Sunday. Photo Courtesy: anfa