KATHMANDU, Sept 9: After making an impressive start in the Second SAFF Football Championship, Nepal will take on Maldives in its second match on Monday at the CR and FC ground in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
A victory over the Maldives will be sufficient for Nepal to secure semifinal berth with a match in hand. In the second encounter against Maldives, Nepal will be looking to continue its dominance over the regional rival.
Nepal had played against the Maldives during the first edition of tournament held two years earlier in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Then Nepal had defeated the Maldives 6-0 with a hat-trick from Anu Lama, twin goals from skipper Jamuna Gurung and another goal from Pramila Rai.
Nepal´s way for the semifinal became easier after Afghanistan and the Maldives shared points playing 1-1 draw. Nepal need not wait for other results no matter what the outcome of the match between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Nepal´s coach Kishor KC said Nepal will come up with improved performance against the Maldives. Nepal had defeated Pakistan 8-0 in its inaugural match of the campaign with six goals coming in the first half. However, Nepal´s coach KC is not satisfied with his side´s performance in the first half.
"The team´s performance was not impeccable. We will try to amend the mistakes in our next match," KC said. "My players could not implement the techniques I taught them. The match against Maldives will be a test of the training," KC said.
KC who was dissatisfied with his forward and midfielders in the first match against Pakistan is hopeful that his forward and midfield line up will come up with a balanced performance in the second match.
"I briefed the players about our weaknesses today. I am optimistic that the team will improve in all the departments," KC said.
Meanwhile, coach KC is also planning to make some changes in the squad and give some new players a chance. "This is our group stage match and before making it into next round it is necessary that every player is cent percent ready for the tournament," said KC.
India reaches semifinal
Defending champion India stormed into the semifinal from group A with second victory in row on Sunday in the second SAFF Women´s Championship. India thumped Sri Lanka 5-0 with a brace from Rinaroy Devi Salam. Suprava Samal, Pinky Bompal Magar and Prameshwori were also on target for the Indian team.
With the win India collected six points. In another match of the group, Bangladesh edged past Bhutan 1-0 with the lone goal coming from Suinu Pru Marma. Following the victory, Bangladesh also kept alive its hope of making it into the semifinal. Both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have three points each. The last league match between two sides will decide the second semifinalists from group A.