Secured of semi-final berth, Nepal play against Bangladesh in Bangabandhu

KATHMANDU: Nepal have entered into the last four of the Bangabandu Gold Cup ongoing in Dhaka, Bangladesh with a game to spare.

Secured of the semifinal berth, Nepal are playing against the hosts on Friday evening.

After Sri Lanka defeated the Malaysian club Felda Utd 2-1 in today’s match, Nepal were successful to go through to the next round with Bangladesh currently topping the Group A.

Nepal are participating in this competition to give the much needed match practice to the current squad for the upcoming South Asian Games to be held in India next month.

Before they play a game with Nepal, Bangladesh are at the top of Group A with 4 points. Nepal also have the equal points, but are inferior due to the goal difference.

Nepal clearly need two goals against the hosts in today’s final group match to leap-frog Bangladesh.

The winner of group A will play against the runner-up of group B to book a place in the final. Today’s match will decide who Nepal will play against in the semi-final.

Maldives U-23 will be their next opponent in the semi-final if Nepal lose to or share points with Bangladesh. If Nepal beat the hosts, they will pit against the Bahrain U-23.

Biraj Maharjan is leading the current national side after former captain Sagar Thapa and his deputy Sandeep Rai were banned by Asian Football Confederation for their alleged involvement in match fixing in international matches.

Bal Gopal Maharjan has been given the coaching responsibility after Patrick Aussems declined to extend his contract with All Nepal Football Association.

Nepal will be playing in any semi-final match for the first time after their disappointing loss to Afghanistan in the SAFF Championship held in Kathmandu back in 2013.

Nepal have an upper hand in their head-to-head clashes over Bangladesh. Nepal have won 12, drawn 1 and lost 5 matches against the hosts.