Hello and welcome to Sportstar's blog of the Nepal vs India international friendly match played at the Dashrath Stadium in Kathmandu, Nepal.
That's all for today!! Thanks for tuning in. Goodnight and take care!!
In the end, one could say it was a fair result as the first Nepal vs India friendly ends in a 1-1 draw.
India, a much better side in the second half equalised in the 60th-minute after Sunil Chhetri venomous shot from distance was saved by Nepal keeper, Kiran Lumbu but he couldn't take care of the rebound, which led to Anirudh Thapa guiding the ball into the back of the net.
Nepal's goal was scored by Anjan Bista in the 36th-minute of the first half.
Coming into the match as the underdogs, it was a brave performance by the Nepal team at home.
Stay tuned for the match report!!!
FULL-TIME!!! (NEPAL 1-1 INDIA)
90+2' CHANCE- A great chance for Nepal to take the lead. Suman pinged in a delicious ball inside the box, which found Kamal Thapa. He made contact but the header was not on target.
90+1' Nepal's Bishal Rai initiates a surge towards the Indian box with a well-measured pass. The Indian defence more than prepared.
FOUR MINUTES ADDED!!!
90' BOOKING- Nepal's Suman Aryal shown a yellow card.
88' A good pass sends Manvir away with acres of green ahead of him. He had time to pick an option. He had Bipin making the run ahead of him but decided to take the shot himself. It's not on target.
87' SUB- Kamal Thapa replaces Pujjan Uparkoti.
83' CHANCE- A great headed pass towards Manvir who did well to keep the ball and turn inside the box. Hugging the touchline, he tried to find a player from a tough angle but he didn't find any.
82' A terrific ball by Nepal's Suman Aryal but unfortunately, no Nepal players at the end of it to capitalise. Bipin Singh clears the ball.
80' CHANCE- Nepal with a good attacking move after a long time in the second half as a great ball comes in from the right flank but the ball is behind the striker and India clears.
78' Nepal keeping a nice defensive shape, which is allowing it to keep the Indian attack at bay but the home team's forward play seems unorganised at the moment.
75' India, unlike the first half, looking much better in the final third of the pitch. The attacking intent has increased after the equaliser. Nepal currently on the backfoot.
72' SUB- Nepal goal scorer Anjan Bista replaced by Suraj Thakuri.
70' SUB- Indian captain Sunil Chhetri replaced by Bipin Singh.
68' When Thapa scored the equaliser!!!
66' CHANCE- A vicious corner delivered by India. All it need was a touch in the right direction but that didn't come. Scores remain level.
65' TRIPLE CHANGE FOR NEPAL!!
63' SUB- Lalengmawia of India replaces Suresh Singh.
60' GOOOOAAAAALLLLLL!!!! INDIA EQUALISES!! ITS ANIRUDH THAPA!! It was all down to Chhetri's thunderous shot from distance. It forced a great save from Limbu but the rebound floated up and was guided home by Thapa, who did well to get to the ball before Nepal could clear.
59' Anjan Bista did a good job to shield the ball from Rahim Ali but the Indian seems to have hurt the Nepal goalscorer by clipping his feet in his effort to win the ball.
55' The change in intent visible in Igor Stimac's team but it remains to be seen whether the Blue Tigers can mobilise their intensity into something positive in the second half.
53' CHANCE- A great bit of play by Manvir from the left flank. He keeps the ball well and floats in a delicious ball inside the box. Chhetri gets the header away but it is not on target.
50' BOOKING- Kiram Limbu was miles out of his line as he ventured out to clear the ball but couldn't get the ball away from an initial Thapa freekick. The goalkeeper sees yellow for supposedly handling the ball with his hands outside the box.
50' BOOKING- Anjan Bista becomes the first player to see yellow in the match.
48' SHOT- Strong start from Nepal as it tries to exploit the spaces between the Indian defence. Goalscorer Bista sets up the shot for Pujjan Uparkoti but he skies the ball.
46' SUBS- Brandon Fernandes and Glan Martins replaced by Anirudh Thapa and debutant Rahim Ali.
THE SECOND-HALF IS UNDERWAY!!!
In what was a fairly tasteless match till about the 35th minute, India was certainly not expecting to go behind in this match. But Anjan Bista's strike at the 36th minute put the host ahead.
Nepal's morale visibly improved after the goal as it ended the half on a high.
Worrying signs for India at the break. Sunil Chhetri was nowhere to be seen for large parts of the first half with the general attacking play of the Indian team being toothless in the first 45 minutes.
Important team for Igor Stimac at half-time. Stay tuned for live-action in the second half.
HALF-TIME!!! (NEPAL 1-0 INDIA)
45+2' SHOT- Great bit of play by Nepal as it gets a shot away in the minutes of the first half. Gurpreet did a good job of clutching the ball and holding it on. A rebound could have been dangerous.
TWO ADDITIONAL MINUTES!!!
44' Nepal ending the first half on a high as it puts pressure on India's defence, trying to carve out a chance to score that decisive second goal.
42' Favourites before the start of the match, shades of nervousness among the Blue Tigers. Sunil Chhetri being rendered ineffective doesn't help the Blue Tiger's situation at all.
36' GOOOOAAALLLL!!!! NEPAL TAKES THE LEAD!! ITS ANJAN BISTA!!! Bista finding himself in a lot of space inside the box as Gurpreet came out of his line. He takes his time and slots the ball calmly inside the empty net.
35'- Still scoreless between the two sides.
26' Nepal's Ayush Ghalan initiating a Nepal attack after a long time in the match as he delivered a cross inside the box from the right flank. However, the weight of the cross was heavy and Gurpreet collects it without much fuss.
24' Nepal keeper Kiram Limbu did well to punch the ball to safety from an Indian corner but took a knock in the process. He is currently on the pitch being treated by medical officials but he should be fine.
22' Sunil Chhetri has been largely-absent from the proceedings up to this point. The Indian skipper is operating from the position of attacking midfielder in this match.
19' The tempo of the match has visibly gone down from the opening minutes. Both teams allowing each other plenty of time in each other's halves.
16' Nepal has been good with its interceptions, especially in the middle of the pitch but its final-third play has not been as effective.
14' Suresh Singh cuts back from the left flank to find Glan Martins who had made a darting run with the ball. Martins' first touch was a tad bit heavy, which took the ball away from him.
11' A long ball played to Akash Mishra from the centre of the park. It was a long chase for the ball between Mishra and Nepal's Ananta Tamang, where the latter came off better and cleared the ball to safety.
9' It's Manvir this time trying to make his way in from the right flank but Dinesh gets a superb block in to stop Manvir in his tracks. Dinesh has been everywhere in Nepal's backline in these opening few minutes.
8' A good ball in by Colaco from the left flank but there was no one in the box waiting to finish that.
6' It has been a sprightly start- neither team being given too much time on the ball. End-to-end play at the Dashrath stadium in Kathmandu.
4' Nepal did well to break the Indian press with some efficient one-touch football. The attack ends with a cross inside the Indian box but Gurpreet collects easily.
2' India on the attack from the first minute itself as it gets a corner.
Chinglesana found himself unmarked as the ball was headed towards him but he couldn't get his shot away. Nepal safe for now.
5:15- AND WE ARE UNDERWAY!!!
5:10 pm- Five minutes to kick-off!! A look at the official squads for today's friendly.
5:00 pm- 15 minutes to kick-off!!! See what happened the last time the two teams met!!!
Some head to head stats for you!!
Here is the venue for today's match- the Dashrath Stadium
4:25 pm- India starting XI ANNOUNCED!!!
India XI: Gurpreet (GK), Bheke, Bose, Mishra, Chinglesana Singh, Fernandes, Suresh Singh, Martins, Colaco, Manvir Singh, Chhetri (C)
Subs: Amrinder (GK), Kotal, Dessai, Lalengmawia, Jeakson, Thapa, Ali, Bipin, Seriton, Pronay, Yasir, Samad
Coach: Igor Stimac
The Indian men's football team will kick start its preparations for the next month's SAFF Championships in Maldives with the first of the two international friendly matches against Nepal here on Thursday.
The five-team SAFF Championships will be held from October 3 to October 13 at the National Stadium in Male.
Besides India, the other participating teams are Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, host Maldives and Nepal.
"We are happy to be here and happy to be together again. These two international friendlies will help us prepare for the forthcoming SAFF Championship in the Maldives next month.
"I just know these games will be good and we need to learn on the pitch," India's head coach Igor Stimac said in a media release.
The second friendly against Nepal will be played on September 5. Both the matches will be held at the Dashrath Stadium here.
This will be the first time India will feature in an international game since playing Afghanistan in its final group match of the 2018 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup joint-qualifiers in Qatar on June 15.
However, with dark clouds hovering in the sky, rain threat looms large over the match. The pitch conditions at the practice ground were already tough because of torrential downpour.
"I hope that we don't suffer heavy rains during the matches so that we can play some exciting football," Stimac said.
"We have analysed Nepal as an opponent and the kind of progress they made in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. They have put on display that they can play quality football and can defend as a team. My colleague has done a good job and there are a lot of young players in the squad."
India captain Sunil Chhetri thanked the ANFA and the Government of Nepal for the hospitality and the invitation to play in Kathmandu during these tough times.
"We understand the situation in the world. The hospitality has been wonderful and the opportunity to play international football is soothing for us. We want to give the best account of ourselves and get a good start for the season. Nepal are a tough opponent and we want to give as much as we can to the coach," Chhetri said.
The talismanic India captain is the crowd favourite. Right from landing at the airport to the team hotel to the practice sessions, locals request him for a click.
"I will admit that I have a soft corner for Nepal. But, it ends the moment I step on the pitch. My mom is from Nepal and whatever sporting culture and discipline has been inculcated is all because of my mom," Chhetri said.
"Nepal has always made it very difficult for us on the football pitch, and we are not expecting anything less. Playing Nepal at home and outside Nepal are two different things, and let's not forget that they are the home team here."
Nepal coach Abdullah Almutairi admitted that he has worked a lot on "changing the mentality of his players."
"I don't want to make people happy, rather I want to make them proud. We have been training for the last two months and there are a lot of youngsters in the squad. Our target is to win the SAFF Championship in the Maldives, and eventually qualify for the AFC Asian Cup China 2023. We don't care about FIFA Rankings. It will not be easy for them (India)."
Two new faces, forward Rahim Ali and defender Seriton Fernandes, made it to the men’s national football squad, which will be playing back-to-back international friendlies against Nepal in the first week of September.
A selection of 24 probable players, except players playing the AFC Cup for Bengaluru FC and ATK Mohun Bagan, had training of around 10 days under the charge of National coach Igor Stimac at the international training facility at Salt Lake Stadium from August 15.
The Indian squad will be leaving for Nepal on August 30 to play the friendlies on September 2 and 5 at Kathmandu.
“We can’t expect much after 10 days of preparation. The legs are still heavy from the load, and we need to slow down, and refresh the players,” Stimac said while announcing the squad of 25.
“I am happy with the manner our players performed. We need to be careful going into the next two games against Nepal. We understand that the ATK Mohun Bagan and BFC players will be in better shape than others against Nepal,” Stimac said in his assessment of the probable players who played two practice games during the camp.
Complete Indian squad
Complete Nepal Squad
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