26 Dec 2016 – Sabitra Bhandari scored five goals and set up two as Nepal started off their SAFF Women’s Championship 2016 campaign with a convincing 8-0 win over Bhutan.
Sabitra had a day to remember as she scored hattrick and set up two goals for Sharmila Thapa in the first half. Sabitra added two more in the second half before being replaced by another goalscorer Krishna late on. Bhandari scored in the 5th minute to start off the scoring spree and set up Sharmila in the 9th minute after an excellent link up play with skipper Renuka Nagarkote. Sabitra then put Nepal three ahead in the 23rd minute and assisted to Sharmila Thapa in the 26th. Sabitra’s then scored in the 35th minute with a flicking header as her header was not read well by the Bhutanese custodian.
Sabitra added two more goals in the second half with goals each in 72nd and 77th minute of the match. Substitute Krishna Khatri also got a goal in the 90th minute after a neat work from another subs Dipa Adhikari in the right wings.
Nepal’s head coach Kumar Thapa was happy with the win and said the scoreline was more than he expected. “The scoreline is very convincing and I am happy. Bhutan is not a bad team but things did not go their way today. Our forward line was good and we got the deserving result.”, said Thapa. He also said that this match will be a great boost for upcoming matches. “This was more of a testing match for us and we got to check the ground status well. We used three substitutes and all of them worked as per my plan.”, he added. When asked about his views on India, Thapa said, “We are just in the group stage now and we just played our first match. For now, we are solely focused on Maldives and then it will be Sri Lanka. The rest depends upon what are the outcomes”.