Sports

Nepal hold India to goalless draw (Photo feature)

  • India-Nepal friendly
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 1, 2015-

Nepal withstood a sustained onslaught to hold the South Asian footballing powerhouse India to a goalless draw in a friendly international at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune on Monday.

Excellent goalkeeping from Kiran Chemjong and some dogged defending secured only the third stalemate in the last 17 meetings between the two neighbouring countries. It was a commendable performance from the touring side considering that they were playing against a more refined Indian players like Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua and Robin Singh.

Nepal’s three Under-19 stars, Bimal Gharti Magar, Anjan Bista and Ananta Tamang who helped Nepal clinch a historic Saff U-19 Championship only a few days earlier on home soil, started for Nepal. Interim Nepal coach Dhruba KC gave debut to four players including the U-19 defender Ananta Tamang. Manang Marshyangdi Club’s Sushil KC, Armyman Nawayug Shrestha and Nepal Police Club’s Bharat Shah also made senior team debut.

Nepal custodian Chemjong made half a dozen spectacular saves, notably to deny Robin Singh in the 27th minute, Jeje in the 29th and Kavin Lobo in the 79th minute. In the 17 previous meetings between the two teams, Nepal have only thrice defeated India, the last of which was a 2-1 win during the 2013 Saff Championship in Kathmandu. The other two wins came in the 1993 South Asian Games final in Dhaka and 2006 AFC Challenge Cup in Chittagong, which they won 3-0. The 4-3 win in tiebreaker after a 2-2 draw in 1993 SAG final was the last time Nepal claimed a major international silverware.

India coach Stephen Constantine praised his boys for creating so many chances. “We should have taken lead in first half but that did not happen,” said the former Nepal coach Constantine.

His Nepal counterpart KC termed the match as a 50-50 affair. “Its a remarkable performance to hold India to a scoreless draw at their own backyards,” said KC adding their his team played better in the second half.

(All photos courtesy of Nepal Sports Journalists Forum)

Published: 01-09-2015 09:28

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