Goals from Ananta Tamang and a screamer from Nawayug Shrestha helped Nepal to a 2-0 victory over Laos in the Prime Minister Three Nations Cup football tournament.
Played under the lights at Dasharath Stadium, Nepal took the lead through Tamang in the 30th minute. Tamang flicked a corner from Arik Bista into the net for the lead.
Shrestha doubled Nepal's advantage in the 56th minute. He volleyed a screamer from around 35 yards out for Nepal's second.
Nepal's head coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese said there were plenty of areas for improvement despite the win. "Its our first win with many new players and there was less time for us to prepare," said Annese. "All my players gave their full effort but there are few areas we need to improve like counter attacking. But so far we have done well and we go forward for the next game," he added.
Annese gave debuts to Sanish Shrestha, Mani Lama, Dipak Raj Singh Thakuri and Sumit Shrestha in the match. Sanish started the match in the right-back position while Lama, Thakuri and Sumit were sent in during the match.
Laos head coach Hans Michael Weiss congratulated Nepal and coach Annese for the win and said he would take positives from the match going forward. "We wanted at least a draw as we had less time to train. We will make few changes in the game against Bhutan and remain positive," he said.
Weiss said Nepal took the chances that fell to them and hoped to meet again in the final. "They were alert and focused more on counter attacking. We could not utilize our chances but this is a performance after few days of training. We want to reach the finals and meet Nepal again," he said.
Player of the match Ananta Tamang pointed on the need for more coordination among players. "We could not play as expected. We have to coordinate well and improve our game," he said. "We scored two goals but that is not going to be enough. We still have Bhutan to play. We have to work out on maintaining ball possession and out attack. Our forward line could not trouble the opposition goalie much," he said.
Laos will now face Bhutan on Saturday at 6 pm. Bhutan will then face Nepal on March 28 followed by the final on March 31.