Had it not been the spectacular last minute goal off the boot of skipper Sagar Thapa it would have been another disappointment for Nepal in the ongoing SAFF Championship in New Delhi.
The perfect long ranger literally curved into the right corner of the net to earn Nepal a well deserved victory. Incredibly, a fantastic goal to remember for a long time. With this important win Nepal finds herself in the brink of qualifying to the last four.
For the second successive match Nepal dished out a dominant performance. The boys came out firing on all cylinders and seemed determined to carve out a victory. Not only did they tackle the physically superior opponent deftly but gave them a run for their money all the way to the end.
Speaking of Bangladesh, I expected a much better performance and thought they would come out strong against us. Once again organized and confident play by the defense and mid-field contributed to our fine performance. The defense spearheaded by Sagar defended the citadel brilliantly. Apart from keeping the opposition at bay, they constantly covered extra yard.
Though nearly not effective as in the first match the mid-fielders did their job, by and large. Another lackluster and uninspiring showing, however, by the offense raised my eyebrows. It is time they step up and end the mediocrity.
Ace striker Anil is yet to justify his talent, and Jumanu and Santosh have not shown hunger to score goals. Anil guilty of missing a couple of sitters got to thank his captain for saving his day.
They need to reinvent themselves before it is too late. In clutch matches we cannot afford to let scoring opportunities go begging by. Let us keep our fingers crossed and wait for their next outing.
In our last group match against the physically tough Pakistan we cannot allow ourselves caught napping. Also it would be a blunder to take things for granted on our part. Anything can happen.
Although we are at the top of the group any scenario can unfold that may or not favor us. Remember, it has now turned into a horse race riddled with suspense and unpredictability. And ultimately it might boil down to goal difference to decide who qualifies to semi-finals.
I am pretty sure Coach Roberts is well aware about the intriguing situation. I know a draw can take us to the round of four. On the other hand, Pakistan will go all out for a win. Hence it is imperative that we play in the same rhythm and temperament.
A defensive approach might not be the best ploy under the circumstance. However, I am confident that we can prevail at the end of the day.