Dipesh Rai of Nepal U-15 men’s football team in action with Maldives’ Humaid Hussain during a SAFF U-15 Men’s Championship Group A football match at the ANFA Complex in Satdobato, Lalitpur on Thursday.
KATHMANDU, Oct 26: Nepal U-15 men’s football team has started its SAFF U-15 Men’s Championship campaign with a 4-0 win over Maldives on Thursday.
In the first Group A match of the tournament played at the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) Complex in Satdobato, Nepal scored two first half goals, and added two more in the second period to win its first match.
Jaan Limbu opened the scoring goal for Nepal in the 28th minute. Maldives’ Nabuhan Mohamed fouled Nepal’s Rakesh Limbu inside the box with a bad tackle, and Nepal was awarded a spot kick. Limbu took the penalty and scored Nepal’s first goal of the match, Namas Thapa Magar doubled Nepal’s tally in the 38th minute after converting a cross from Rakesh Biswokarma.
Nepal, who had most of the possession in the game, added two more goals in the second half with brilliant performance. Sashank Bohora hit a shot from inside the box which Maldives keeper Yoosuf Meesam Adbullah tried to get a hand to the ball, but his shot was way too strong for Abdullah, and the ball went it for Nepal’s third in the 63rd minute.
Nepal scored its fourth in the 70th minute as substitute Dipesh Rai scored.
Nepal had created many chances to dominate Maldives throughout the match, but missed those chances. On the contrary, Maldives only hit four shots in Nepal’s post, but they were saved by keeper Roshan Nepal and some were defended well by the defenders.
After a thumping win in the first match, Nepal’s journey to the semifinals has become easier, while it is hard for Maldives as both the teams will play a game next, both against Bangladesh.
Nepal head coach Sanoj Shrestha said that his side the attacking line and the defense needs to be stronger in order to win the title.
“As a host, the performance of our team was a bit low. The combination between the players was not that good,” Shrestha said.
“We got control of the ball as the opponent played well in the first half, and not in the second. But, we could not add more goals because of poor attacking line. It is necessary to improve this weakness in the upcoming game,” he added.
Meanwhile, Maldives head coach Ibrahim Halim said that the performance of his team against Nepal was satisfactory.
“The climate was very cold for us. We could not play well because of the climate,’’ Halim said, “We mostly have the players of aged 13 in our team. We have come here just for the experience. Overall, the team played well against a stronger side like Nepal,’’ he added.
Likewise, earlier in Group B, Pakistan defeated the title contender India 2-1 to start the tournament on a high note.
Adnan Justin scored in the 30th minute to give Pakistan a lead, but India had equalized in the 63rd minute with a goal from Thalchyeu Vanlalrautafela.
Pakistan scored the winner through Wasif five minutes from time. With the loss, India’s journey to win the title has taken a toll.
Pakistan will take on Bhutan in the first match on Saturday, while the second match will be played between Maldives and Bangladesh.