Nepal are aiming to return winning ways after their first match in Group A ended losing against Pakistan. Despite having more possession and more shots, Nepal lost against the Pakistan in stoppage time.
As they are making their 10th appearance in this tournament will be looking for glory days following their 2016 South Asian Games triumph beating India.
Nepal’s best finish in this tournament is the third place in 1993. But, they have reached semifinals on three occasions. Their most recent was in 2013.
Bhutan also suffered a defeat in their first match against tournament host Bangladesh by 2-0.
For them, this the 8th appearance in this tournament. Their best finish came in 2008 when they reached semifinals.
Both teams losing their first match will put huge pressure on their shoulders as the losing team will be the first to head home. So, it will be a crucial game for both teams.
Nirajan Khadka who made a great comeback to National side after five years of absence could feature and defender suman Aryal who was on the bench against Pakistan could start.
Nepal skipper Biraj Mararjan is expected to become the most-capped Nepal player of all time and his team would definitely want to mark the occasion with a victory.
Bhutan and their coach Trevor Morgan who entered the competition with a young squad listing only six players from the previous tournament might rotate a little bit. There are 17 new players in the squad who are eager to show their prowess.
WHAT MANAGERS SAY:
Nepal head coach Bal Gopal Maharjan said that, they have two more matches and in football, anything can happen. If we win those, we can reach the semi-final. We have the belief to perform well.
“I admit they lacked the right rhythm against Pakistan, but I believe our time is not over, we have another two very hard matches to prove our worth. So, all the hopes are not lost” he said.
Bhutan Coach Trevor Morgan said the loss against Bangladesh was frustrating for him, for the management and for the players. He also added that they are on the right track.
“I feel we’re on the right track. We had a good game against Bangladesh and have some positive play. So, with that we can have a good game against Nepal.”
HEAD TO HEAD
Nepal have won both of their previous SAFF Suzuki Cup games against Bhutan, with both coming in the group stages of the tournament. In 2003, they beat Bhutan 2-0 in and in 2005, they beat them 3-1.
They both have met each other on 12 occasion in all competition. During all these matches, Bhutan failed a single win and a draw.
The first of the two SAFF Suzuki Cup meetings between Nepal and Bhutan was also played in Bangladesh.
Nepal have scored 39 goals against Bhutan in these 12 meetings, Bhutan scoring just 5.
The heaviest defeat came in 1999 South Asian Federation Games when Nepal beat Bhutan 7-0.