Kathmandu: The first friendly between Nepal and India on Thursday at the Dashrath Rangasala ended in a 1-1 stalemate.
Nepal’s Anjan Bista scored the first goal of the match in the 35th minute. The goal came four minutes after he missed to score a freekick from outside the penalty area in the 31st minute.
Anirudh Thapa equalized for India 15 minutes into the second half.
Indian skipper Sunil Chhetri was substituted by Bipin Singh Thounaojam in the 24 minutes of the second half. Nepal’s goalscorer Bista was substituted by Suraj Thakuri 27 minutes into the second half.
Nepal’s Tej Tamang was selected as the best player from Nepali side, while Rahim Ali was declared the best player from the India side. Both of the players received NRs 25,000 each as a reward.
Speaking during the post-match conference, Igor Stimac, the coach of the Indian national team, said, “It was exciting and a good game. The first half was not good and the second half was far better as we were passing and attacking well. Nepal also took the advantage of the structure of pitch, it favored them to play well.”
Speaking after the match, Nepal coach Abdhulla Almutairi said that his side needs to improve a lot if they are going to win the SAFF Championship happening next month.
“I am so sorry for Nepali people as we could not meet their expectations,” he said. “We need to fix all our mistakes and do more improvements if we want to win the SAFF Championship. But whatever the results, I am proud of my boys.”
Prior to today’s match, Nepal and India had played altogether 20 games, wherein Nepal had won three matches, lost 13 and played draw in four occasions. The last match Nepal played against India was in 2017, which India won by 2-0.
The second friendly is slated for Sunday.