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Nepal beat Bangladesh to win first trophy at home in 37 years

Sanjog Rai celebrates after opening the scoring for Nepal in the Three Nations Cup Final on Monday. Photo: Bikash Shrestha

Kathmandu, March 29

At a gloomy yet jubilant Dasharath Stadium, Nepal beat Bangladesh 2-1 to win the Three Nations Cup held in Kathmandu on Monday. With this, Nepal’s senior team have won a trophy at home for the first time in 37 years. 

Starting on the front foot, Nepal piled up the pressure from the opening whistle. All of their opening pressure paid off as Sanjog Rai, starting his second match for Nepal, opened the scoring in the 18th minute with a low driven left-footed shot, after a poor clearance by the Bangladeshi defenders following a corner by Sunil Bal. This broke Nepal’s seven-match streak without a goal.

Bangladesh, having gone behind, tried to come back into the game as they created a few chances testing Nepal’s keeper Kiran Kumar Limbu, whose misjudgement nearly cost Nepal a goal.

However, after continued pressure, Nepal bagged another goal as Bishal Rai scored in the 42nd minute with a composed finish following a pass from Sanjog.

Nepal could have scored a few more goals as Ananta Tamang and Anjan Bista both missed great chances to put Nepal further forward.

Nepal started the second like they started the first as they piled on the pressure creating chances throughout the half. Dominating possession, Nepal controlled the game quite well. But, a lack of defensive awareness in the 82nd minute gave Bangladesh a sniff back in the game as an unmarked Mahbubur Rahman Sufil scored from a corner.

After scoring, Bangladesh tried to pile up the pressure with regular long balls and set pieces, but Nepal held on to win the final and with it the Three Nations Cup that included Kyrgyzstan’s U23 team.

Sanjog Rai was judged the player of the match for his goal and assist while Rohit Chand was judged the tournament’s most valuable player.

Captain Maharjan retires

Captain Biraj Maharjan, who is Nepal’s most capped player, played his last game for Nepal as he had already declared he would take retirement from the international football after this event.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli bid farewell to him today.

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