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Nepal 0-0 India: Blue Tigers through to next round of FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifiers

Blue Tigers win 2-0 on aggregate

Sunil Chhetri’s brace in the home leg prove decisive for Team India as they qualify to the next round
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India holds Nepal for a 0-0 draw in the second leg of the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifier game. India go through to the preliminary stages of the qualifying rounds by virtue of better goal difference, thanks to their 2-0 victory at home last week.

Nepal is always a formidable opponent at their home ground and it would have been a difficult job for Stephen Constantine’s men to beat the local side. The last time these two sides met in Nepal was in 2013 at the SAFF Championship, where Nepal defeated India 2-1.

Stephen Constantine kept the starting lineup unchanged from previous week’s encounter at Guwahati. India got a chance to score early in the game, but Robin Singh wasted it by blasting the ball over the goal post.

Nepal was dominating possession and was creating more chances. In the 17th minute, they got their first real chance of the match to go ahead. Santosh Sahukhala came close to score, but Subrata Pal pulled off a good save to deny the Nepali striker.

Nepal looked more desperate to score goals, as they had to win today’s game by 2 goals or more. Indians on the other hand looked relaxed and counter attacked only in few instances. Arnab Mondal was rock solid in defense today and denied the Nepali strikers from creating any positive chances in front of the goal.

Nepal’s urgency increased as the second half began. They looked more desperate as they had to score at least two goals to take the game into extra time. Stephen Constantine made one change. He replaced Lenny Rodrigues with Cavin Lobo in the beginning of the second half.

In the 64th minute, Robin Singh had found the back of the net, but mysteriously it was disallowed by the referee.

Four minutes later, Indian vice-captain Sunil Chhetri entered Nepal’s penalty box with a solo run, dribbling past three opponent defenders. He had a good opportunity to score, but his shot went wide.

Nepal won a free-kick from thirty yards away just after Chhetri’s move. Sandip Rai chipped it over the Indian wall. Bharat Khawas received it and attempted to score, but his effort was blocked by the post. Subrata Pal looked clueless in that situation.

Nepal failed to make it to the preliminary qualifying stage of the FIFA World Cup 2018. India moves ahead thanks to Vice-captain Sunil Chhetri’s brace last week in Guwahati.

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