By Shrikant Shankar
Nepal captain Sagar Thapa scored a long range free kick in the fifth minute of added time to win the Group B match for Nepal. Thapa sent the ball into the left-hand top corner of the goal to get all three points. This was Nepal's first win over Bangladesh since 1993.
Bangladesh player Mohammad Mamun Miyah conceded a free kick in the 94th minute. He fouled Nepal's Rabin Shrestha and earned a yellow card. In the resulting free kick Thapa scored the winner.
In the first half, Nepal went gung-ho in the first five minutes as they tested the Bangladesh defence and made the keeper, Mohammad Sahidul Alam make a string of saves.
In the third minute, Nepal's Anil Gurung missed a corner from just six yards. In the first 10 minutes, Nepal dominated the possession and pushed Bangladesh back into their own half.
In the 25th minute there was a clash of heads as Nepal's Jumanu Rai and Bangladesh's Mohammad Razaul Karim went for the ball. The Nepal forward had to be stretchered out and in the 33rd minute he was substituted by Santhosh Shahu Khala.
In the 34th minute, Nepal goalkeeper Kiran Kumar Limbu handled the ball outside the penalty box. In the resulting free kick, the ball went through a lot of players but no one was at the end of it, as it went for a goal kick.
Nepal's Anil Gurang had a one-on-one with Bangladesh keeper Sahidul Alam in the 42nd minute, but miss-kicked the ball and it was cleared by the defenders. Nepal went for goal just as half-time approached, but the profligacy of their strikers meant that both teams went into the break with a 0-0 score line.
In the second half, Bangladesh made a couple of substitutions. They started on a more positive note and substitute Mithun Chowdhury scuffed his shot when he had only the Nepal keeper to beat.
In the 54th minute, Nepal forward Santhosh Shahu Khala was pulled by Razaul Karim of Bangladesh and received a yellow card. More substitutions were made for Nepal as Jagajeet Shrestha came in for Bijay Garung.
Bangladesh played better but their attacks were few and far between to trouble the Nepal defence. All of their attacks came from the wings and for Nepal, it was more all-round.
Bangladesh then had a golden opportunity in the 76th minute as Chowdhury crossed from the right but Atiqur Rahaman Meshu could not connect the ball and missed an open goal in front of him.
In the 87th minute, Sahidul Alam tipped a powerful header by Nepal's Santhosh Shahu over the crossbar. Then five minutes of added time were awarded and the match looked like it would finish goalless.
But Thapa stepped up and proved to be the hero for Nepal.
Nepal coach Graham Roberts was delighted with the win. "I think we should have won it in the first half but were unable to score. But overall as the whole match panned out, I think we deserved to win," he said.
On Thapa scoring directly from a free kick, he said, "He does that everyday in training. As soon as he took it I shouted to him, GOAL!"
The Bangladesh coach Nikola Ilievski looked positive despite the loss. He said, "We did not play well in the first half but we improved in the second. We changed the formation and we could have won."