By a Staff Reporter
Kathmandu – Aashish Chaudhary scored his first-ever international goal, leading Nepal to a consolation victory in the SAFF Championship 2023. The final group stage match saw Nepal triumph over Pakistan with a 1-0 scoreline at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru.
The game started with a promising opportunity for Nepal as Bimal had a chance to secure an early lead in the 11th minute. However, he was brought down by a Pakistani defender just before he could take a shot in a one-on-one situation.
Despite both teams creating numerous chances, the first half ended in a goalless draw. Nepal’s Manish had an opportunity to break the deadlock in the 61st minute, but he failed to capitalize on a one-on-one situation.
Devendra Tamang came close to giving Nepal the lead in the 67th minute with a free-kick from the left side, outside the box, but his effort struck the crossbar. Arik Bista also missed a golden chance in the 72nd minute when his free-kick hit the woodwork.
Nepal finally broke the deadlock in the 80th minute, thanks to Aasish Chaudhary. Aasish, who had come on as a substitute for Awas Lamichhane in the second half, unleashed a powerful strike from just outside the box. Arik, with a header, directed the ball to Laken, who then set it up perfectly for Aasish to fire it into the back of the net with his right foot.
Aasish’s goal proved to be the decider, securing a consolation win for Nepal. Previously, Nepal had suffered a 4-1 defeat to Kuwait in the tournament opener and a 2-0 loss against India in their second match, ending their SAFF Championship journey. Meanwhile, Pakistan concluded their SAFF Championship 2023 campaign without a win.