SAFF football begins with a day of draws
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At 143, though Nepal are the second highest-ranked team in the SAFF Championships here, they certainly didn't look the part in the first ten minutes of their game on Friday, with a section of supporters seemingly more enthusiastic than the players themselves.
Maldives made the best of this lethargy before Nepal came into the game, and the match ended in a 1-1 draw at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Except for their disinterest in the opening minutes, Nepal were all over the place throughout the match, skillful and attacking aggressively. In the dying moments of the first half, Maldives skipper and Man of the Match Ashfaq Ali hit an aerial shot just after he crossed into the Nepal half and it spectacularly whizzed past custodian Kiran Limbu into the left corner of the net.
Nepal though didn't have to wait long for the equaliser, with Sandip Rai heading in a swirling corner kick by Raju Tamang in the 52nd minute.
The first day of the SAFF Championships experienced contrasting matches as the first match between Pakistan and Bangladesh ended in a dull and a goalless draw.
While Bangladesh failed to create any impression, Pakistan had handpicked chances of scoring. Pakistan goalkeeper Jafar Khan, named Man of the Match, was the busiest man on the field, with Bangladesh making frequent inroads into the box, but managed to keep the slate clean.
Saturday's fixtures: India vs Afghanistan (3 pm), Bhutan vs Sri Lanka (6 pm)
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