Hero Gold Cup: Bhandari brace helps Nepal edge past India

Bhubaneshwar, February 11, 2019: Sabitra Bhandari scored in the 4th and 6th minutes respectively to help Nepal beat India 2-1 in their second game of the Hero Gold Cup at the Kalinga Stadium on Monday.

Ratanbala Devi hit home a free kick in the 83rd minute but it wasn’t enough as India registered its first loss in the four-nation tournament.

Myanmar is seated at the top of the table with 6 points from 2 games and India and Nepal are locked in second place with 3 points each after the second day. Iran is yet to open its account having played an equal number of games.

India skipper Aditi Chauhan erred in grabbing a cross from the right flank which allowed Bhandari to score into an empty net.

Maymol Rocky’s team switched gears and Dalima Chibber could have hit the target with a long ranger only to miss by a whisker. Sanju’s lay-off was collected by Jabamani Tudu but the cross was too heavy for onrushing goalkeeper Anju Tamang.

India had another chance in the dying minutes of the first half but Anju could rattle only the side-netting.

They had two back-to-back chances to breach the sturdy Nepalese defence but the score line remained the same.

Sanju and Sandhiya, who replaced Anju Tamang in the 57th minute, coordinated well but failed to find the back of the net in the 74th minute. Sanju tucked in a goal but was ruled offside in the 75th minute.

India got a free-kick at the edge of the box owing to a handball by a Nepalese defender and Ratanbala Devi converted it to bring some life back to the game in the 83rd minute.

India tried their best to find the equalizer but Nepal stood firm to clinch all three points

India will face Myanmar in the final game of the group stage at the same venue on Wednesday.

AIFF MEDIA

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