Nepal ended their 23-year long drought for international silverware when they outclassed Bahrain Under-23 team 3-0 in the Bangabandhu Gold Cup final in Dhaka on Friday.
Bimal Gharti Magar, Bishal Rai and Nawayug Shrestha scored a goal apiece for the Himalayan outfit in an agonisingly one-sided match at the Bangabandhu National Stadium, surprisingly watched by a capacity crowd.
Nepal won their last title in an international competition way back in 1993 when they defeated India 1-0 in the SAF Games final, also in Dhaka.
Their other success at international level came at home in the inaugural SA Games in 1984 when they beat Bangladesh in the final in Kathmandu.
Nepal, who began the tournament as underdogs, put a spirited performance in the semi-final to beat Maldives 4-1 and maintained the form in the final.
The Gorkhas took only five minutes to break the deadlock, thanks to their young forward Bimal Gharti Magar, who finished from a rebound after Bahrain’s keeper Mahboob Aldoseri saved an Anjan Bista’s header.
Nepal keeper Bikesh Kuthu made a brilliant save in the 24th minute when he dived to his left to deny Rahman Abdulla’s placing effort following a Mohamed Alnaar’s lob.
Nepal missed another golden opportunity at the hour mark when Hemang Gurung found the Bahrain keeper alone but put his left footed drive wide from the middle of the box.
Both Nepal and Bahrain were reduced to 10-man after Nepal forward Sumon Lama and Bahrain midfielder Ahmed Althuani received straight marching orders for their off the ball tackles.
Nepal midfielder Bishal Rai doubled the margin in the 87th minute placing the ball into the net following a lovely cutback by Anjan Bista from the right side of the box.
Nawayug, who scored the only hat-trick of the tournament in the semi-final, completed the rout with an injury time strike.
Bimal skipped past onrushing keeper Mahboob and gave a neat cross to Nawayug, who headed the ball into an empty net.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina distributed the prizes among the winners after the final.
Nepal 3 (Bimal Gharti Magar 5, Bishal Rai 87, Nawayug Shrestha 90+) v Bahrain U-23 team 0
Source: New Age