Final squad for AFC U23 Asian Cup Qualifiers confirmed

The final squad for AFC U23 Asian Cup Qualifiers has been confirmed on Sunday.

Head coach Bal Gopal Maharjan confirmed the squad for the tournament in Tajikistan.

Nepal will play first match against Iran on October 25, against Tajikistan on October 28 and against Lebanon on October 31.

Final squad: Arpan Karki (GK), Bishal Sunar (GK), Abhishek Baral (GK), Suman Aryal, Gautam Shrestha, Rajan Gurung, Shiva Gurung, Randip Poudel, Anil Maharjan, Abhishek Limbu, Nitin Thapa, Suraj Jeu Thakuri, Ayush Ghalan, Sesehang Angdembe, Rajiv Lopchan, Sishir Lekhi, Akash Budha Magar, Roshan Pahari, Arik Bista, Ritik Kumar Khadka, Manish Dangi, Abhishek Rijal, Darshan Gurung

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Elusive title eludes again

Nepal finished second in the SAFF Championship after a 3-0 defeat by India in the finals on Saturday.

In the match played at the National Stadium in Male, Maldives, Sunil Chhetri, Suresh Singh and Sahal Abdul Samad's goals downed Nepal.

Having reached the finals for the first time, Nepal's hopes of winning the SAFF Championship were dashed.

After a goalless first half, Sunil Chhetri headed India's first in the 49th minute. Just a minute later Suresh Singh's shot was deflected off Dinesh Rajbanshi beyond the reach of diving Kiran Kumar Limbu. Sahal Abdul Samad scored the final minute of regular time and wrapped India their eighth SAFF Championship title.

Nawayug Shrestha missed a glorious opportunity to give Nepal the lead in the sixth minute when he hit the upright from Suman Lama's cross. Playing in the pouring rain, Rohit Chand slipped and fell while trying to control the ball in the 17th. Nawayug shot in the 27th minute was straight to the Indian keeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

Manish Dangi, coming in with the score line at 2-0, brought some spark into Nepal's attack but his shots did not trouble the opposition post. Rohit Chand had the best opportunity in the game when his header in the 77th minute hit the tip of the bar and went wide.

Despite result, it still is a remarkable achievement for Nepali football when they reached the finals for the first time in their history. Nepal had never reached the final before.

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Nepal U23 to play friendly against Indonesia U23

The national U23 team, currently in closed camp training, will play a friendly against Indonesia U23 team in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

The friendly will be a part of preparation for the AFC U23 Asian Cup Qualifiers.

Nepal have been drawn alongside Iran, Lebanon and Tajikistan in Group B for the tournament.

Nepal will play its first match against Iran on October 25 and second against hosts Tajikistan on October 28. Nepal's final match will be against Lebanon on October 31. All the matches will be played at Republican Central Stadium in Dushanbe.

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Nepal into SAFF Finals for the first time

Nepal has reached the finals of the SAFF Championship after playing out a 1-1 draw against Bangladesh in Male on Wednesday.

Nepal required only a point to confirm their place in the finals. Anjan Bista struck in the 86th minute penalty to give the vital point for Nepal and create history.

Bangladesh had taken the lead through Sumon Reza unmarked header in the 8th minute. Nepal wasted a glorious opportunity to bring things to level after Rohit Chand skied his shot after cross by Gautam Shrestha in the 15th.

Nepal kept on knocking Bangladesh's post but found their goalkeeper Anisur Rahman Zico in tremendous form. Sumon Reza could also double Bangladesh lead in the 55th but was kept out by rushing Kiran Chemjong.

Rahman was sent off in the 79th when he handled Anjan Bista's shot outside the box. Nepal were awarded a penalty four minutes from time when Bista was brought down inside the box. He levelled and ensured the point which would guarantee Nepal's place in the final.

Nepal will take on either Maldives or India in the final on October 16. Maldives only need a point while India have to win the match to reach the final.

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