Machhindra edge Paro, to meet Mohun Bagan in next round

Nepal’s Machhindra FC fought back from a goal down to edge Paro FC of Bhutan 3-2 in their AFC Cup Preliminary Round 1 match at the Dashrath Stadium on Tuesday.

Paro took an early lead before a first-half blitz gave Machhindra a 3-1 advantage heading into the break with the visitors reducing the deficit late in the game.

Machhindra will face India’s Mohun Bagan Super Giants in the Preliminary Round 2 on August 16.

Paro caught the hosts by surprise when Yeshi Dorji’s cutback from inside the box forced Machhindra keeper Bishal Shrestha into conceding an own goal after Kazuo Honma’s initial close range effort.

Machhindra, however, came back fighting with Bimal Gharti Magar heading home the equaliser in the 12th minute before Ayush Ghalan put the Nepali side ahead with a curling effort from inside the box.

Machhindra’s constant pressure led to another goal in the 38th minute with Afeez Oladipo finishing off a nice team move with a close range header.

Paro tried to find their way back with Evans Asante netting in the 71st minute but it was too late as Machhindra held on for the win.


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Nepal's friendly matches against Myanmar confirmed

The national men's football team is all set to play in two friendly matches against Myanmar on September 8 and 11.

The matches will be played in Yangon and falls under the FIFA window.

The friendlies will be part of preparations for the FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers first round matches. Nepal will face Laos on October 12 and 17 in Nepal and Laos respectively.

If Nepal qualifies for the second round, Nepal will face UAE, Bahrain and winner of Yemen and Sri Lanka in Group H of the second round. The second round matches will be played in home-and-away format in between November 2023 and June 2024.

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Machhindra awaits Paro's challenge on AFC Cup Qualifiers

Nepal's Machhindra Football Club is all set to face Bhutan's Paro FC in the AFC Cup Qualifiers preliminary stage match on Tuesday.

Speaking at the press meet ahead of the showdown the sides expect a tough challenge and put up a good show in tomorrow's game.

Paro's Head Coach Pushpa Lal Sharma said Machhindra were a good team including national team players. He added he expects his side to put up a good fight. "We have played three league matches and are fully prepared. Machhindra are a good side to play against and we respect them. We expect to progress to the next round," Sharma said.

The team's captain Kinley Wangchuk also seconded his coach's thought on the match against Machhindra. "Some of our players know the field and the condition well here. We hope to take advantage of that. We are now fully focused against Machhindra. Only after that we can think about the next stage," said Wangchuk.

Machhindra's head coach Kishor Kumar KC said the side had strengthened their weak positions from the league. "Our signings are improvements on the weak positions and we will use them against Paro. We respect our opponents and have studied them well. I think they are more relied on their foreign signings," said KC.

Machhindra's team captain Bishal Shrestha said they had trained well and their preparations were over. "Our preparations started late due to the weather and rain but we have signed new players and they have been training really well," said Shrestha.

 The match will be played at 5:30 pm.

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Three more players added to the national team

National men's team head coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese added three more players to his preliminary national team squad.

Friends Club midfielders duo Santosh Khatri and Kushal Phuyal and Jawalakhel Youth Club forward Hisub Thapaliya have been called up for the national team. The initial squad has now reached 33.

Hisub Thapaliya

Head coach Annese, speaking to ANFA Media, said the reason to include three players was to give them the motivation and the chance to join the national team. "Also the players from Machhindra Football Club and Tribhuvan Army Club will be busy in their club competitions," Annese added.

Machhindra is scheduled to face Paro FC in the AFC Cup Preliminary Stage and Tribhuvan Army will play in the Durand Cup.

Santosh Khatri

Coach Annese added players playing from Machhindra and Army called up for the initial squad of the national team will join the national team after the conclusion of their respective club tournaments. The closed camp of the national team will begin from August 1.

Nepal have been drawn alongside Laos in the Preliminary Round 1 of FIFA World Cup 2026. The first leg of the match will be played in Nepal on October 12 and second leg in Laos on 17 October as per the home and away format.

Kushal Phuyal (Jersey no 32)

If Nepal qualifies for the second round, Nepal will face UAE, Bahrain and winner of Yemen and Sri Lanka in Group H of the second round. The second round matches will be played in home-and-away format in between November 2023 and June 2024.

Nepali squad

Goalkeepers: Kiran Kumar Limbu (RG Punjab FC), Anish Deula (Jawalakhel Youth Club), Deep Karki (Manang Marsyangdi Club), Abhishek Baral (Satdobato Youth Club)

Defenders: Bimal Panday (Tribhuvan Army FC), Sanish Shrestha (APF Football Club), Ananta Tamang (Church Boys United), Devendra Tamang (Machhindra Football Club), Ashish Gurung (Manang Marsyangdi Club), Rohit Chand (Persic Kedri), Simanta Thapa (Jawalakhel Youth Club), Anjal Maharjan (Friends Club), Chhiring Lama (Jawalakhel Youth Club), Anjan Rai (Nepal Police Club)

Midfielders: Arik Bista (Church Boys United), Sudip Gurung (Satdobato Youth Club), Laken Limbu (Three Star Club), Awas Lamichhane (APF Football Club), Utsav Rai (Machhindra Football Club), Bishal Tamang (Jawalakhel Youth Club), Bibek Poudel (Church Boys United), Kritish Ratna Chhunju (NRT), Santosh Khatri (Friends Club), Kushal Phuyal (Friends Club)

Forwards: Ayush Ghalan (Sankata Club), Nawayug Shrestha (Tribhuvan Army FC), Anjan Bista (Church  Boys United), Manish Dangi (Sankata Club), Aashish Chaudhary (Church Boys United), Bimal Gharti Magar (Machhindra Football Club), Gillespye Jung Karki (Tribhuvan Army FC), Dinesh Henjan (Tribhuvan Army FC), Hisub Thapaliya (Jawalakhel Youth Club)

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