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Nepal beat Sri Lanka 1-0 Bangabandhu Gold Cup

Nepal’s Robin Shrestha (right) vies for the ball with his Sri Lanka opponent during their Bangabandhu Gold Cup match in Dhaka on Wednesday, January 13, 2016. Photo: THT

KATHMANDU: Bimal Gharti Magar scored the solitary goal as Nepal registered a 1-0 victory over Sri Lanka in the Bangabandhu Gold Cup today.

The win at the Bangabandhu National Stadium ended Nepal’s 11-match winless streak that included two draws and nine losses since their 2-1 victory over India in the eighth SAFF Championship group stage match on September 5, 2013.

The victory also avenged Nepal’s 1-0 loss at the hands of Sri Lanka in the ninth SAFF Championship last month in India.

The win meant Nepal are at the top of the Group A table with four points from two matches, while hosts Bangladesh are second with three points.

Felda United of Malaysia, who played a goalless draw with Nepal in the opening match on Saturday, have one point. Sri Lanka, who lost their second consecutive match, crashed out of the race.

Top two teams will advance to the semi-finals.

Gharti Magar gave an early lead to the team when he scored for the six-yard box following a pass from Robin Shrestha in the fourth minute for his third international goal.

Gharti Magar had ended Nepal’s 1000-minute goal drought in the match against India in last month’s SAFF Championship in Trivandrum.

Nepal had not found the back of the nets in 11 matches since Jumanu Rai’s goal against India in the 80th minute on home soil in 2013.

Nepal had created a couple of scoring chances. Anjan Bista muffed up an opportunity in the 44th minute inside the six-yard box following a pass from Robin Shrestha, while Bikram Lama ended up with a high shot in the 58th minute in Heman Gurung’s free-kick.

In the 80th minute, Nepal created another chance but Thapa Magar slipped inside the box while trying to collect a long pass from Robin Shrestha.

In the 83rd minute, Anjan Bista shot wide from the edge of the box.

Coach Bal Gopal Maharjan was happy with the performance of his players in his debut match with the national team. “I am happy we could win first match since 2013 SAFF Championship,” said Maharjan. “It was a good goal from Bimal Gharti Magar and Robin Shrestha’s cross was vital,” he added.

Maharjan said the team had planned to score within the first 10 minutes. “We got a goal inside five minutes and also created a number of other scoring opportunities,” he added.

:: Nepal’s Robin Shrestha (right) vies for the ball with his Sri Lanka opponent during their Bangabandhu Gold Cup match in Dhaka on Wednesday, January 13, 2016.

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For Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-ve) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point

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