Nepal defeated Sri Lanka 3-2 in their second match of the SAFF Championship at the National Football Stadium in Male today.

Suman Lama, Anjan Bista and Ayush Ghalan scored one goal each for Nepal, who registered their second straight victory in the tournament. Marvin Hamilton and Dillon de Silva replied for Sri Lanka. In an early match, Bangladesh held India to a 1-1 draw.

The results meant Nepal moved to the top of the table with maximum six points from two matches.

Nepal had defeated hosts Maldives on Friday with Manish Dangi scoring the solitary goal of the match. Bangladesh are second on four points, while India are third with one point after their first match of the tournament ended in a draw.

Maldives and Sri Lanka are yet to open their accounts in the fiveteam competition. Top two teams will advance to the final after a round robin league.

Against the run of the play, Nepal opened the scoring in the 33rd minute when Suman Lama collected a pass from Nawayug Shrestha, beat past a Sri Lankan defender and fired home from inside the box despite Sri Lanka goalkeeper Sujan Perera getting his hands to the ball.

Man-of-the-match Anjan Bista doubled the tally seven minutes into the second half in rebound after Nawayug Shrestha's initial attempt was blocked by Sri Lankan custodian Perera following a pass from Ayush Ghalan.

Suman Lama made a goalline clearance in rebound moments before Marvin Hamilton converted a powerful strike from 30 yards out into a stunning goal to reduce the deficit in the 57th minute giving no chance to Nepal goalkeeper Kiran Kumar Limbu. Ghalan's hard work paid off in the 86th minute when he restored Nepal's two-goal cushion to effectively seal three points for the team. At a time when the match was coming to its end, Sri Lanka earned a penalty and Dillon de Silva beat Nepal goalkeeper Kiran Kumar Limbu to reduce the deficit. Nepal skipper Limbu said his side passed the second stage and they had a bigger test in five days. "We passed this stage and this is not the end for us.

We have tougher test against India and we will fight for another 90 minutes," said Limbu, who was forced to make a couple of crucial saves against Sri Lanka.

Earlier, 10-man Bangladesh came from behind to play 1-1 draw with India. Skipper Sunil Chhetri put India ahead in the 26th minute and Bangladesh received a blow when they were reduced to 10 men after Bishwanath Ghosh was sent off in the 54th minute. Against the run of the play, Bangladesh levelled the scores in the 74th minute through Yeasin Arafat's goal in the 74the minute and they held on to walk away with one point.

A version of this article appears in the print on October 5, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.