Nepal beat Bahrain 3-0 in Bangabandhu, win first int'l title after 23 years

KATHMANDU: Nepal won first international title in 23 years, beating nine-man Bahrain U-23 team 3-0 in the final of Bangabandhu Gold Cup in Dhaka on Friday.

Bimal Gharti Magar, Bishal Rai and Nawayug Shrestha scored one each to guide Nepal to the spectacular victory at the Bangabandhu International Stadium. Nepal were the only team to be unbeaten in the tournament.

Nepal had won the South Asian Games at the same stadium in 1993 in Raju Shakya's captaincy while the present coach Bal Gopal Maharjan was a member of the winning team.

Bimal Gharti Magar had made an early breakthrough for Nepal in the fifth minute, while Bishal Rai doubled the tally on the 87th minute, utilising Anjan Bista's pass.

Nawayug Shrestha, who scored hat-trick in the semifinals against Maldives, added the third goal in the first minute of the added five-minute stoppage time. Magar assisted Shrestha for the spectacular goal on a header.

Both Nepal and Bahrain were restricted to 10-man each in the 81st  minute as Nepal's forward Suman Lama and Bahrain's midfielder Ahmed Althuwani were booked after they got involved in a brawl.

Nepal's goalkeeper Bikesh Kuthu, who conceded only one goal in the entire tournament, saved some good attacks by Bahrain lads. Altogether Nepal scored eight goals in the tournament.

Shrestha was the highest scorer of the tournament with four goals in his credit. He was awarded the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. Magar was awarded the Man of the Final.

Speaking at the award ceremony, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed congratulated the Nepal team. She handed over cheque worth USD 50,000 to the Nepal team's manager and USD 25,000 to the Bahrain team manager, and distributed medals to the players and officials.

Nepal had begun their campaign with a goalless draw against Felda United of Malaysia and defeated Sri Lanka 1-0 with Bimal Gharti Magar scoring the solitary goal.

In the last group-round match, Nepal and hosts Bangladesh played a 0-0 stalemate to finish as Group A runners-up. Nepal then exhibited a strong show in the semi-final match against Maldives riding on a hat-trick from Nawayug Shrestha and one from Bishal Rai.

Speaking at a pre-final press conference, Nepal's coach Bal Gopal Maharjan had expressed his confidence on Thursday that Nepal would bring an end to the drought to 23-year-old title drought.

“We want to present Nepal a football trophy, we are determined to win it, we are not over confident and I have told my boys not be overwhelmed by the occasion," he said, "We also want to prove the 4-1 win over Maldives was not a fluke, it was the result of hard teamwork.”


Bangabandhu final: First half ends with Nepal 1-0 up against Bahrain

KATHMANDU: The first half of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup final ended with Nepal 1-0 up against Bahrain U23 team.

Bimal Gharti Magar had scored the goal in the fifth minute giving an early lead to Nepal.

Bahrain, however, had superior ball possession of 56 per cent against Nepal's 44.

Three players of Bahrain were shown yellow cards while a Nepali player was also cautioned.

Bahrain had three corners while Nepal had none.

Nepal take early lead against Bahrain in Bangabandhu final

Nepal made an early breakthrough in the fifth minute to lead 1-0 against Bahrain with Bimal Gharti Magar's spectacular goal in the final of Bangabandhu Gold Cup final being played at the Bangabandhu International Stadium in Dhaka.

Bangabandhu Gold Cup final kicks off

KATHMANDU: The final match of Bangabandhu Gold Cup kicked-off in Dhaka of Bangladesh.

Nepal are playing against the Bahrain U-23 team.

The match at the Bangabandhu National Stadium is Nepal’s first final in 17 years.

The champions will receive USD 50,000, while the runners-up will get USD 25,000.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed would award the winners.

Starting XI

Nepal: Bikesh Kuthu, Rabin Shreshta, Biraj Maharjan, Ananta Tamang, Aditya Chowdhury, Bishal Rai, Anjan Bishta, Heman Gurung, Bikram Lama, Nawajug Shreshta, Bimal Gharti Magar.

Bahrain: Mahmoob Al Doseri, Abl Aziz Shellal, Mohammed Ali Naar, Abdul Aziz Obaed, Jasim Al Sheikh, Ebrahim Al Hooti, Abdal Aziz Al Sheikh, Saeed Mubarak, Abdul Rahman Abdulla, Salman Abdullah.


Nepal ready for final clash against Bahrain U-23