Monday, April 15

Nepal Kicks Off SAFF Championship 2023 with Defeat

By a Staff Reporter

Kathmandu – The Nepal National Football Team’s SAFF Championship journey got off to a disappointing start as they suffered a defeat against Kuwait.

The Nepali side went 3-1 down to Kuwait with Skipper Khaled Hajiah, Shabaib Al Khaldi, and Mohammad Abdullah scoring apiece for the winners. Nepal’s star forward, Anjan Bista, replied with a goal, marking his 12th International Goal. With this, he stands just one goal behind Nepal’s all-time leading goal scorers, Nirajan Rayamajhi and Hari Khadka.

Skipper Khaled Hajiah netted an open header to break the deadlock in the 23rd minute and put his side ahead. Taking advantage of Nepal’s failure to clear Fawaz Al Otaibi’s corner, Khaled capitalized on the opportunity.

Kuwait extended their lead in the 41st minute when Shabaib Al Khaldi found the back of the net. Receiving a pass fed by Mohammad Abdullah from the left wing inside the penalty box, Al Khaldi skillfully maneuver past Bimal Pandey before beating Nepal’s custodian Kiran Chemjong to extend Kuwait’s lead to 2-0.

Kuwait, who went into half-time with two goals lead came back to add one and concede one to Nepal.

Mohammad Abdullah converted a penalty in the 65th minute, increasing Kuwait’s lead to 3-0. Kuwait was awarded with a spot kick after Nepal’s center-back Ananta Tamang handled Hamad Al Qallaf’s cross.

Just three minutes later, Anjan Bista managed to pull one back for Nepal. Taking advantage of Kuwait’s defensive error, Anjan controlled Ananta Tamang’s long ball and directed it into the goalpost.

In the second match of the day, the host nation India will face their arch-rivals Pakistan. The match is scheduled to kick off at 7:45 PM NST.

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