Anjan KC put the home team ahead in the eighth minute and Md Khalid Saifulla levelled the scores in the 53rd. Nepal ‘Red’ were impressive in the first half and created as many as six scoring opportunities but strikers, particularly Anil Gurung, let the team down. Gurung alone muffed up five chances including one in an open net.
Anjan KC gave an early lead to the home team when he converted a free kick from 20 yards. Nepal earned the free kick after Md Farad Hussain Chowd brought down Ju Manu Rai. Nepal ‘Red’ conceded the equaliser eight minutes into the second half when Saifulla headed home following a cross from Syed Rashed Turzo. Arambagh is currently eighth in the professional league in Bangladesh. Bijay Gurung should have doubled the lead in the 13th minute but the unmarked midfielder headed wide on Sandip Rai’s free kick. Anil Gurung hit the cross bar in the 19th minute, while he shot straight at hands of Arambagh goalkeeper Mitul six minutes later. In the 29th minute, the NRT striker failed to score in an open net on rebound. Gurung was unlucky in the 36th minute when Arambagh glovesman Mitul saved his diving header following Ju Manu Rai’s cross. In the 44th minute, Gurung shot wide on Ju Manu’s pass. Ju Manu almost doubled the lead in the 52nd minute but his powerful strike was saved by goalkeeper Mitul, who brilliantly punched Anjan KC’s free kick in the dying moments of the match.
Four Bangladeshi players Md Farad Hussain Chowd, Md Mostafizur Rahaman, SM Emrul Hasan and Saifulla and Nepal’s Ju Manu Rai were cautioned with yellow cards by Sri Lankan referee Priyanga Peiris. Nepal ‘Red’ coach Yogamber Suwal rued the missed opportunities. “It was unfortunate on our part that we squandered so many scoring opportunities,” he said. “We were on course as my boys were playing as per the strategy but the finishing was poor,” added Suwal.
Skipper Rakesh Shrestha said the equaliser conceded by the team half was the turning point of the match. “We could not return to the rhythm after conceding the unexpected goal the second half,” said the skipper.
Arambagh coach Quazi Neamul Majid was more than happy with the draw. “I am happy with my boys as they held the national team of Nepal,” he said. “They (Nepal) played very well in the first half but the match was balanced in the latter half,” he added.
With the draw, Nepali team now faces a challenge to entering into the semifinal but it all depends on the important match against the Pakistan Football Team. Nepal Blue will take on JW Club of Thailand in the Saturday's match.