Nepal manage a SAFF Cup win at last; Pakistan left empty handed!

Nepal scored late in the match to beat Pakistan 1-0 in their last Bangabandhu SAFF Championship 2023, Group A match at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Tuesday, June 27.

While Nepal finished their campaign with three points from as many matches, Pakistan are returning home without a point in their kitty. India and Kuwait have already qualified for the semifinals from this group.

The two sides were evenly matched from the beginning and produced some good football. In the 13th minute, Nepal had an opportunity to draw the first blood when Syed Abdullah Shah brought down Bimal Gharti Magar near the dangerous area. The reckless tackle earned Shah a yellow card too. However, the resultant free-kick, taken by Bimal, brazed over the bar.

On the other end, Pakistan came close to scoring in the 30th minute. Muhammad Umar Hayat set Alamgir Ali Khan Ghazi near the edge of the box, only for the latter to shoot it straight at Nepal goalkeeper Kiran Kumar Limbu.

Just before the break, Nepal had the best chance of the first half when the team produced a wonderful attacking move. An unmarked Ayush Ghalan received the ball in an advantageous position and saw the opportunity to pull the trigger. However, his grounded attempt was blocked by Pakistan goalkeeper Yousuf Ijaz Butt.

Following the restart, Nepal looked more dominant in the attack as they kept the ball moving in the rival half. At the hour mark, they once again found an opportunity when Nawayug Shrestha delivered a perfectly weighted pass to Manish Dangi. However, Dangi was denied by the Pakistan custodian in a one-on-one situation.

Nepal continued to charge forward from both flanks, forcing the Pakistan defenders to play on the back foot. Finally, in the 80th minute, Vincenzo Alberto Annese-coached side earned the prize for their relentless effort in the attack. Laken Limbu set up substitute Aashish Choudhary just outside the box and the forward managed to beat the goalkeeper on the near post to make it 1-0.

In the additional time, Laken Limbu had the chance to put the game to bed for Nepal. But his weak shot was saved by Yousuf Ijaz Butt.

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