KATHMANDU, SEPTEMBER 12
Nepal and Bangladesh played a goalless draw in the second and final international football friendly match here at the Dasharath Stadium today.
Nepal won the two-match series riding on their 2-1 victory in the first match three days ago. But the performance in second match was dismal as the home side lacked firepower and the girls seemed tired since the first half. Stopping Nepal to a goalless draw was equivalent to a win for Bangladesh and the team members celebrated on the pitch after the final whistle. In their previous seven encounters, Nepal had recorded six wins and the two sides had played a 1-1 draw.
On Sunday, the visitors almost took lead in the sixth minute capitalising on an error from second-choice goalkeeper Anjana Rana Magar, who was included in the starting XI in place of regular custodian Anjila Tumbapo Subba. But Bangladesh wasted a chance when Srimoti Sarkar failed to fire at the post.
Nepal created an opportunity three minutes later with Amrita Jaisi coming close to opening the score.
But Bangladesh goalkeeper Rupna Chakma gathered Jaisi's volley from the edge of the box in the second attempt.
In the 20th minute, Saru Limbu could not connect to a cross from Rasmhi Kumari Ghising.
Bangladesh's Srimoti Sarkar hit the cross bar from tight angle at the stroke of half an hour. Bangladeshi team pushed hard in the second half but they failed to find the back of the nets, while the home side players were seemingly tired and struggled for the ball, let alone create dangerous moves. Striker Rajani Thokar made her national team debut from the match after she replaced Preeti Rai in the 88th minute.
Nepal coach Gary Phillips accepted the team's performance was poor in the second match compared to first game. "We could not live up to the expectation as we had changed our strategy in the second match," said Phillips in the post-match press conference. Phillips lauded the performance of skipper Renuka Nagarkote.
"She was exceptional throughout the match but she did not get the support in the mid and the team could not perform to our expectations," he added.
Phillips said the team looked tired in the match due to the lack of matches. "The players need to play enough matches along with training for fitness. They looked tired as they have not played for six months. These two matches have given us confidence to perform well in the Asian Cup qualifiers," added the coach.
Nepal and Bangladesh are preparing for the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers to be held in Uzbekistan. Nepal are scheduled to leave for Uzbekistan on Monday. They will take on the Philippines on September 18 and play against Hong Kong three days later.
Top team after the round robin league will earn berth in the AFC Asian Cup to be held in India in January next year.
A version of this article appears in the print on September 13 2021, of The Himalayan Times.