Bhutan makes a weak start at U-16

Nepal made a strong start to the SAFF U-16 Championships with a 7-0 drubbing of Bhutan in the opener at the Dashrath Stadium on Saturday.

A treble each from captain Hemanta Thapa Magar and Bimal Gharti Magar helped Nepal make light work of Bhutan who looked physically weaker than the host.

After a goalless first half, Bimal broke the dreadlock for the host in the 49th minute when he netted a rebounding ball from a crowded box into the post.

Hemanta doubled the lead in the 57th minute with a powerful shot. The ball took a slight deflection off the keeper Anup Ghalley’s arm before going into the net.

Rain poured in the second half and Nepal known to thrive in wet conditions went on to register their biggest margin win against Bhutan in this age category.

Bhutan lived true to their word as they put on a much better performance in comparison to the past. But the home lads eyeing the winner’s trophy proved too strong for them.

Bimal who had made his debut in the national team under the British coach Graham Roberts, scored his second goal in the 62nd minute with the cross from Bikash Thapa. A minute later he completed his hat-trick.

Ravi Bhandari fed Hemanta the pass for his second goal which he hit from the D-box in the 76th minute. Shiva Subedi too got on the score sheet as he guided the ball home from between the legs of Bhutan’s custodian Ghalley. Hemanta was in the thick of the action once again as he fed Subedi the pass from the center.

Hemanta who was in formidable form completed his hat trick in the 84th minute when he shot a low bouncing ball for optimum result.

Nepal’s coach Bal Gopal Maharjan was jubilant with the result. “This is just the start we were looking to make,” Maharjan said. “I had not expected to win with such a huge margin.”

He said his boys were nervous in the first half. “When they failed to break the dreadlock the boys became edgy and started playing individual game which put further pressure on the team,” Maharjan explained. He also added that Bhutan had played better than he had thought.

Likewise, Bhutan’s Japanese coach Nori Ohara pointed out that his team were physically weaker in comparison to the home team.

“Apart from that the boys came under pressure after conceding the first goal after which we never came back in the game.”

In the other match held at Army’s Ground at Lagankhel Afghanistan held defending champion Pakistan to a goalless stalemate.

Nepal take on Afghanistan on Sunday.

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