Nepal make early exitDefending champions Nepal bowed out from the group stage of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup football tournament losing 1-0 to Palestine for their second consecutive defeat at the Sylhet District Stadium in Bangladesh on Sunday.
Defending champions Nepal bowed out from the group stage of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup football tournament losing 1-0 to Palestine for their second consecutive defeat at the Sylhet District Stadium in Bangladesh on Sunday.
Nepal, who lost 2-0 to Tajikistan in their first Group ‘A’ match on Tuesday, conceded the lone goal of the match in the 70th minute. Khaled Salem, left unmarked, headed from the six-yard box to convert Abdallah Jaber cross.
The outcome meant holders Nepal crashed out without opening account in the point table and scoring a goal. Palestine, who had beaten Tajikistan 2-0, topped group with maximum six points to advance into semi-final as group winner. Tajikistan joined them as runners up.
Nepal opted to play defensive football against Palestine fielding Bimal Gharti Magar as the lone forward. In absence of injured skipper Biraj Maharjan and Ananta Tamang, Nirajan Khadka wore the captain’s armband for the first time.
Palestine intensified their attacks from the onset while Nepal troubled Palestine defense only once throughout the match. Palestine came closer to scoring in the 16th minute when Helal Mousa smashed crossbar from the zone in a Khaled Salem pass. Six minutes later, Salem headed off the target after he was supplied by Mousa.
Nepal’s only chance of the match came in the 34th minute when Khadka fed Gharti Magar inside the area but Palestine goalie Tawfiq Ali intercepted to foil the attack. In the 39th minute Nepal’s custodian Bikesh Kuthu caught Mohammed Bassim shot from the edge as the match went into second half goalless.
Nepal replaced skipper Khadka with Anjan Bistan in the 64th and Bishal Rai with Nawayug Shrestha two minutes later. But the changes could not reap benefit. It was instead Palestine who broke the deadlock. Kuthu was called into action again in the 87th minute when he made a long stretch dive to prevent Mahmoud Al Awisat low ball strike. Nepal had won the last edition of the tournament defeating Bahrain U-23 3-0 in the final.