Kathmandu: Nepal defeated Bangladesh 2-1 to lift the Three Nations Cup 2021 on Monday.
Sanjog Rai and Bishal Rai scored for the hosts in an entertaining match at the Dasharath Stadium as Nepal marked their return to international football with a bang.
Sanjog scored the first in the 18th minute when he drilled a powerful left-footed drive into the bottom left corner.
Buoyed by the opener, Nepal pressed harder and Anjan Bista just missed out on doubling their lead when his chip beat the keeper but just sailed over the crossbar in the 20th minute.
Sanjog then turned provider in the 42nd minute, with Bishal finishing with his right foot.
Bangladesh’s Mahbubur Rahman pulled one back with a header in the 83rd minute.
Nepal head coach Bal Gopal Maharjan said the result was due to the hard work of the past 100 days.
“The credit for this trophy goes to the players and the supporters. We made some changes in the team and strategy and it worked in our favour. We are happy to win,” said Maharjan.
Defender Biraj Maharjan, who played his last match for Nepal, said his international footballing career was complete with the trophy.
“I am happy to look back at my career. I had never hoped to achieve things I have achieved and I am grateful to every football supporter for it,” said Biraj.
Team captain Kiran Kumar Limbu said the induction of new players helped Nepal in the victory.
“The young players are really good. I am happy to win my first trophy as a captain. I thank the supporters who gave us extra motivation to play,” said Limbu.
Both teams will now turn their attention to the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 in June, with Nepal fourth in Group B with three matches to play.
Bangladesh, meanwhile, are bottom of Group E after five matches. ( AFC )