KATHMANDU: Nepal U-23 dramatically came back to the game in the dying moments and went on to beat Maldives U-23 team 4-3 in their semifinals of South Asian Games men’s football played at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium in Guwahati on Saturday evening.
Nawayug Shrestha was the saviour, who scored two goals — one each in the last minute of the extra-time and the added one-minute injury time — for 10-man Nepal, and completed his hat-trick. It was his second hat-trick in the tournament. He had scored three goals against Bhutan in the group stage match also.
With the high-voltage victory, Nepal sailed into the finals.
Nepal will take on hosts India on Monday evening for the gold medal in the regional sports gala. India had beaten Bangladesh 3-0 at the first semifinals at the same stadium earlier today.
Earlier, Nepal had played the finals of SAG football in 1984, 1993 and 1999. While Nepal were defeated by Bangladesh in 1999, they had earned gold medals in 1984 and 1993.
In January, Nepal had defeated the Maldives 4-1 in the semifinals of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup, in Dhaka of Bangladesh.
In the SAG group stage, Nepal had defeated Bhutan 5-0 while suffered a 2-1 loss from Bangladesh.
in today’s match, Nepal had made an early lead with Anjan Bista’s goal in the 15th minute. Nawayug Shrestha doubled the tally scoring in the 36th minute and making the Nepali side more confident.
Nepal that lead Maldives 2-0 in the first half, however, conceded first goal in the 52nd minute. The match was pushed to the extra-time after Ahmed Nashid levelled the score 2-2 in the 85th minute.
In the meantime, Nepal were restricted to 10 players after Kamal Shrestha was sent off the ground after he received second yellow card in the match.
When the match entered extra-time, uncertainty loomed large over 10-man Nepal’s fate. Hasan Naiz scored for Maldives in the 25th minute of the extra-time giving them a 3-2 lead over Nepal.
But in dramatic turn of events, Nawayug Shrestha scored his second goal of the match to level the score 3-3 in the 29th minute of the extra-time. He added one more to complete his hat-trick in the added one minute time.
Meanwhile, Nepali women’s football team have also made it to the finals. They also will face India for the gold medal.
Nepal score two goals in dying moments of extra-time to beat Maldives 4-3
– Nawayug Shrestha again. He completes his hat-trick to rescue Nepal.
– Nawayug Shrestha scored for Nepal. Nepal are back to the game with equaliser
– Hasan Naiz scored for Maldives in the 25th minute of the extra-time. Now, Maldives are leading Nepal 3-2.
Goalless first half of extra-time
Both teams made some good moves but failed to score. First half of the extra-time ended goalless.
10-man Nepal was apparently not lucky enough to get a lead as free-kick from a promising position in the 14th minute hit the cross bar and sailed into sky.
90+2′: Nepal 2-2 Maldives by the end of regular time. Now, the extra-time game will decide the winners.
85′: Ahmed Nashid scored the equalising goal for the Maldives.
65′: Kamal Shrestha was red-carded for challenging a Maldivian player. Nepal are now down to 10 players.
52′: Mohammad Hamza scores the first goal for the Maldives. Now, Nepal 2-1 Maldives.
45+2′: The first half ends with Nepal 2-0 Maldives.
36′: Nawayug Shrestha’s goal keep Nepal 2-0 ahead of Maldives.
15′: Nepal take early lead with Anjan Bista’s goal against Maldives.
KATHMANDU: Nepal and the Maldives are vying for the final berth during their semifinal match of the men’s football in 12th South Asian Games, in Guwahati of India on Saturday evening.
The winner would face India in the final.
Nepal First XI: Bikesh Kuthu(GK), Biraj Maharjan(C), Ananta Tamang, Kamal Shrestha, Aditya Chaudhary, Bishal Rai, Heman Gurung, Bikram Lama, Anjan Bista, Nawayug Shrestha, Bimal Gharti Magar