Report of Nepali Football Team win SAG against India
Nepal repeated history to win the gold medal in the South Asian Games men’s football defeating India after 23 years.
Attacking midfielder Prakash Budhathoki, lethal striker Nawayug Shrestha and brilliant custodian Bikesh Kuthu led Nepal to propel to the triumph over the hosts India in their own backyard.
Nepal’s head coach Raju Kaji Shakya was the captain when the Nepali team won the gold medal in the men’s football in the regional sports gala in Dhaka in 1993.
It is third gold medal for Nepal in the 12th edition of SAG. Earlier, Nepal had won one gold medal each in Wushu and Judo.
Nepal were 0-1 down after India’s Halicharan Narzary scored from the penalty spot in the 31st minute. Nepal were penalised after Aditya Chaudhary brought down Indian midfielder Kumam Udanta Singh in the penalty area. Goalkeeper Kuthu had guessed the right spot, but failed to prevent the ball from going into the net.
Nepali players apparently gave too much respect to their opponents and were put under pressure in the first half. The domestic crowd acted as the 12th man for India. Nepali players seemed to be more nervous and disorganised while barricading the attacking moves from Indian side after conceding the goal.
But they succeeded in coming back to the game with Prakash Budhathoki’s goal off a stunning free-kick in the 66th minute. Budhathoki, who substituted Man Bahadur Tamang in the 41st minute, added Nepal’s attacking flair in the second half. Kuthu also made some brilliant reflex saves, keeping Nepal’s hope to make a comeback in the game.
NaSouth Asian Games-Footballwayug Shrestha, who was marked by Indian defenders in the first half, dodged the marker to slot the ball with an agile movement and made an athletic finish into the net from Prakash Budhathoki’s weighted cross from the left flank. * Unstoppable Shrestha, who had scored hat-tricks against Bhutan and Maldives, gave Nepal a deserved lead in the 71st minute.
It was Shrestha’s seventh goal in the tournament.
In the post-match press conference, India’s head coach Lee Johnson admired Budhathoki’s free-kick, dubbing it world class. “The free kick was world class. No keeper in the world could have stopped that,” he said.
Nepal had made it to the finals defeating Maldives 4-3 in sensational semifinal match on Saturday. Nawayug Shrestha had scored hat-trick, his second in the tournament, to rescue 10-man Nepal that were lagging 2-3 in the extra-time then. He had scored two goals in the dying moments of the crucial fixture.
@ News from Suddha Pakhe
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