Kathmandu: The second half goal from Anirudh Thapa saved India to level 1-1 draw
in the first friendly against the host Nepal at Dashrath Stadium here on Thursday.
The tiny Himalayan nation moved ahead over India in the 36th minute through Anjan Bista and
visiting side had to wait another twenty-four minutes to bring the play at par.
Thapa came off the bench to make his mark but the architect of the goal was India’s captain
Sunil Chhetri. The striker received the ball around 30 yards from the post. He swivelled and
unleashed a long range effort but Nepal custodian Kiran somehow kept it out but Thapa quickly
held the ball and sent it home to restore parity.
Earlier in the first half a fumbling at the defence line the visiting side conceded a goal.
Chinglensana looked to go for a back pass but there was very low power on it. Anjan Bista
intercepted and put the ball into the empty net before Gurpreet could do anything.
It was a tantalising football with so many twists and turns, but in the end a fair result for both
In the first half, Nepal led 1-0 thanks to a goal from Anjan Bista. The Indian team were not on
their game in the first half and coach Igor Stimac ensured that it changed. He made 4 changes
at the beginning of the second half, and the change was clearly visible.
There was more energy and dynamism for India. Nepal were put under much more pressure.
The pressure finally paid off but not in the manner that India would have imagined.
Skipper Chhetri unleashed a long range shot which was parried towards the sky by Nepal
The ball bounced near the goal line and Thapa reached first to put the ball into the back of the net.
After that, both sides created chances, perhaps the clearest one falling to Manvir Singh in the 83rd minute but he failed to give India the lead and quite possibly the winning goal.