Nepal kept their hopes of reaching the semi-finals of the 12th SAFF Championship alive when they thrashed a 10-man Bhutan 4-0 in their second Group A match at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Thursday.
Ananta Tamang, Sunil Bal, Bharat Khawas and Niranjan Khadka scored one goal apiece for the Himalayan nation to bag maximum three points.
They will now face hosts Bangladesh in their last group match on Saturday.
Bhutan, who lost 0-2 against hosts Bangladesh in their opening match, were eliminated from the group stage of the competition with their second successive defeat.
Nepal, who suffered a 1-2 defeat against Pakistan in their opening match, were in attacking mood throughout the game.
Experienced midfielder Sunil Bal was the heartbeat of the Nepal team by orchestrating most of the moves for his team-mates.
Nepal took the lead in the 21st minute when Ananta Tamang headed home a neat corner of Bal.
Bhutan were reduced to 10-man in the 69th minute when Nima Wangdi brought down Nepal’s substitute forward Nirajan Khadka inside the box to receive his second yellow card.
Nepal striker Bimal Gharti Magar saw his attempt from the spot was initially saved by Bhutan keeper Tshering Dendup but Bal was there to send the rebounder home to double Nepal’s lead.
Bharat Khawas made an immediate impact after coming off the bench by scoring a great goal in the 79th minute.
Substitute Khadka completed the rout in the 88th minute when his header following another curving corner of Bal found the back of the net.
Nepal head coach Balgopal Maharjan praised his charges after the massive win.
‘After the defeat in the first game, it was a must-win game for us,’ said the coach after the match.
‘I made some changes in strategy, concentrated on attacking third and it paid off. The tactical changes after the break also left impact in the win.’
Nepal 4 (Ananta Tamang 21, Sunil Bal 69, Bharat Khawas 79, Niranjan Khadka 88) v Bhutan 0
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