Wednesday, July 24

Preeti Rai’s Stoppage-Time Winner Sends Nepal Into WAFF Final

By a Staff Reporter

Kathmandu (Hamro Khelkud) – Preeti Rai’s stoppage time screamer has guided Nepal to the final of the ongoing WAFF Women’s Championship in Saudi Arabia. Nepal, thanks to Preeti’s goal, completed a comeback from a one-goal deficit, to defeat Lebanon 2-1 in the second semifinal to book their place in the final.

In the fifth minute of injury time, Nepal got a corner which was played by Bimala Chaudhary. Her corner, played towards the edge of the box, was cleared and fell for Preeti outside the box. Her first-time strike found the corner of the post and sent Nepal to the final.

Earlier, Lebanon took the lead in the match with a gift given by Nepal in the form of an own goal. Right-back Puja Rana’s pass to goalkeeper Anjila Subba was heavy and played away from her. The ball, out of Anjila’s reach, found the back of the net, giving Nepal a big task to come back into the match.

But after numerous chances went to waste, Sabitra ‘Samba’ Bhandari’s persistent efforts were rewarded in the 76th minute as Nepal equalized. Her shot off a Rashmi Ghising pass was saved by the Lebanese goalkeeper. However, defender Amina Kareem failed to clear the ball and Samba stole the ball off her feet to poke it towards the net to equalize.

And it was Preeti’s heroics that awaited the match that was edging towards a penalty shootout.

Nepal will take on defending and record five-time champions Jordan in the final of the tournament on Thursday. Jordan defeated Palestine 5-0 in the first semifinal earlier in the day to book their place in the final.

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