Bangladesh's bid to defending the title of the SAFF U-15 Championship took a massive blow when they lost 4-1 against Nepal in their third group-stage match at the Kalyani Stadium in West Bengal today.
The two-time champions, who had won their first two games against Bhutan and Sri Lanka by 5-2 and 7-1 margins, are still in joint second position with Nepal, but face a tricky last match against favourites India.
Both Bangladesh and Nepal have six points from three matches each even though Bangladesh are ahead on goal difference, but that equation may count for little in the final match-day of group stage when the boys in red and green face table-toppers India, who have already qualified for the final, while Nepal play against minnows Bhutan.
Nepal broke the deadlock from a counter-attack into stoppage time of the first half before doubling the lead seven minutes after restart, thanks to a howler from the Bangladesh goalkeeper. Substitute Badsha Mia gave Bangladesh hope with a goal in the 79th minute, but two more goals from the Nepalese players extinguished Bangladesh's hopes of a comeback.
The top two teams from the five-team group will advance to the final, which will be played on Saturday.