Nepal overcame Bhutan 2-1 to defend the U-23 football tournament title to bring the 13th South Asian Games curtain down here at the Dasharath Stadium today.
Nepali men’s football team players & officials celebrate subsequently winning a gold medal at the Dasharath Stadium in Kathmandu on Tuesday, December 10, 2019.
Abhishek Rijal and Sunil Bal scored for the home team, whereas skipper Chencho Gyeltshen scored for Bhutan. With the second straight and fourth overall title in SA Games, Nepal secured the gold medal tally to record 51. Nepal had also won a football gold medal in 1984, 1993 and 2016 editions of the regional sporting spectacular. Rijal initiated the scoring for the home team in the 16th minute with his third goal of the tournament on Tuesday
Rijal assembled a long throw-in from Bikash Khawas and made a quick turn to slot home from close range. Bhutan wrecked the scores in the 36th minute stilling the sold-out 15,000 crowds at the stadium when skipper Gyeltshen outpaced as many as two defenders and thumped home past diving goalkeeper Bikesh Kuthu.
Bal reclaimed the lead in the 53rd minute with a header following a free-kick from Ananta Tamang. The football final was succeeded by a glittering closing ceremony that saw a set of 150 drones forming the images of the national flag, map, Pashupatinath temple, Gautam Buddha 13th SAG 2019 and its mascot, among others.
The most successful Nepali player of the 13th SA Games with nine medals including four golds, swimmer Gaurika Singh led the national flag at the march-pass.
PM KP Sharma Oli addressed the gathering during the teleconference and displayed his happiness for the grand success of the SA Games. Deputy PM Ishwor Pokhrel brought the curtains down before the performance from several groups including dances from Nepali Army’s khukuri troop, school children and Guruju Paltan. Jagat Bahadur Sunar the Youth and Sports Minister appreciated all the athletes, team managers, and officials.
Jeevan Ram Shrestha the President of Nepal Olympic Committee handed over the South Asian Olympic Council flag to his counterpart from Pakistan, the hosts of the succeeding edition of SA Games. National Sports Council Member Secretary Ramesh Kumar Silwal thanked all the stakeholders to make SA Games a grand success.
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