SAFF Championship: Nepal shocks Maldives with a late winner

Heartbreak to the hosts on the opening day of SAFF Championship 2021 as Nepal beats Maldives 1-0, thanks to a late winner at Galolhu National stadium.

Former Maldivian Captain and the hero of Maldivian football, Ali Ashfaq (Dhagandey) returned to the SAFF Championship after 5 years absence failed to register a mark on his return, receiving plenty of chances but couldn't find his famous goal scoring form.

The Maldives team were always favorites to win the game, controlling the majority of the possession, attempts on goal and attempts on target. However, Ali Suzain't team were unlucky at turns, but wasteful majority of the game.

Nepal team were resilient in defending, but always dangerous on the counter. Manish Dangi won possession of the ball on a Maldivian counter attack, went on a brilliant solo run, scoring on the 86th minute of the game while 3 Maldivian defenders failed to get the better of him.

Five teams play on this year's SAFF Championship, currently Bangladesh and Nepal remains on top. Bangladesh beat Sri Lanka in the same score line as tonight's in the opening match of the tournament.

Loss from tonight's match suffers a huge blow to the hosts, as Maldivians started this campaign with an aim to repeat history of 2008, winning the cup as hosts. Maldives co-hosted the championship 12 years ago, winning the final against India to win first ever gold in Men's football.

The hero of the final, Mukhthar Naseer presented the trophy tonight in the opening ceremony.

Maldives vs Nepal. Photo: Adhadhu