Nepal returned to the winning ways with a bang beating Bhutan 4-0 in the SAFF Suzuki Cup at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on September 6, Thursday.
Stunned by Pakistan 2-1 in their opener, Nepal played with a purpose and accomplished their mission with a dominating victory. Bhutan who lost to Bangladesh 2-0 are almost out of the meet.
Nepal coach Bal Gopal Maharjan inserted three changes dropping skipper BirajMahrjan, forward Bharat Khawas and Nawjug Shreshta in search of his first victory in the current meet.
Nepal’s attacking intentions were clear from the very outset with Bimal Gharti Magar, SuajlShreshta and Sunil Bal forming a three pronged attack upfront.
Nepal’s aggression pushed Bhutan into their own zone with their attackers continued to open the defence. In the 15th minute Snuil Bal saw his left footer on a Sujal Shreshta cutback whisker past the sidepost.
Bhutan was troubled by the speed of Sunil Bal whose footwork was often a headache for Bhutanese defrnce.
Bhutan relied a lot upon their star forward Chencho Gyaltsen but he continued to show his off form. Chencho squandered a nice opportunity in the 19th minute as he brought a cross down his chest but failed to take the shot before defender Ananata Tamang shrugged off the danger.
Ananta Tamang was the hero of the moment orchestrating the lead. In the 21st minute the tall defender rose on time to head the curved corner of Sunil Bal beating Bhutani goalie Tshering Dendup in his right hand post (1-0).
Nepalese goalkeeper Kiran Kumar Limbu enjoying his debut as the skipper of the national fold saved his team in the stroke of the half hour with a diving save denying his counterpart Karma Shedrup Tshering who unleashed scorcher from 25 yards out.
Nepal could have sealed the fate of the match in the 50th minute but Anjan Bista’s glancing header on a corner of Sinil Bal that landed just a yard away of the side post, Ananta Tamang’s sliding attempt was too late.
In the 65th minute Bhutan’s Tsenda Dorji’s tapped goal was ruled out due as he was located off-side.
Nepal was denied by the sidepost in the 65th minute when Anjan Bista’s sidefooted placing hit the sidepost.
But three minutes later the destiny of the match was decided. Nepalese defender Nima Wangdi in his valiant attempt brought Niranjan Khadka down in the middle of the box and Indian referee Rowan Arumughan took no time to point the spot. Bimal Gharti Magar’s shot was blocked by Dendup but an agile Sunil Bal hit the back of the net on the rebound (2-0).
Substitute Bharat Khawas added the third with a sizzling run down the midfield in the 78th minute and finishing the job with his pet left foot (3-0)
Niranjan Khadka headed the fourth in the 88th minute off a corner of Sunil Bal (4-0)
Bhutan was indebted to Dendup for not letting the margin grow bigger with two outstanding saves in the dying minutes.