Thursday, May 23

Nepal’s SAFF Championship 2023 Journey Ends Prematurely

By a Staff Reporter

Kathmandu – Nepal’s hopes in the SAFF Championship 2023 were dashed as they suffered an early exit, succumbing to a 2-0 defeat against hosts India at Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Saturday.

India’s skipper, Sunil Chhetri, and Mahesh Singh Naorem each contributed a goal to secure victory for the hosts. Despite displaying a promising performance in the first half, Nepal fell behind in the second half and conceded both goals.

With this win, India secured their place in the semifinals, while Nepal’s journey in the SAFF Championship 2023 came to an end. Nepal had earlier suffered a 3-1 loss against invitees Kuwait in the championship opener. Nepal’s final match will now be against Pakistan, who has also lost both of their matches so far.

Although both teams created several opportunities in the first half, neither side managed to break the deadlock. However, it was India who took the lead in the 61st minute when their captain, Sunil Chhetri, scored his 91st international goal. Sunil easily tapped in the ball into the goalpost following a cross fed by Mahesh Singh from the left flank to give his team the advantage.

Nine minutes later, India doubled their lead through Mahesh Singh. Sunil’s initial shot was saved by Nepalese captain Kiran Chemjong, but the ball rebounded off the crossbar, allowing Mahesh to head it into the back of the net. This result ensured India’s qualification for the semi-finals.

In the day’s earlier match, Kuwait defeated Pakistan 4-0, becoming the first team from Group A to advance to the semi-finals. With consecutive defeats, both Nepal and Pakistan have been eliminated from the championship. The two sides will face each other on Tuesday in their final match of the tournament.

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