Defending champions India were held to a goalless draw by a spirited Nepal in a rain-marred match but the latter crashed out of the Nehru Cup football tournament here yesterday.
With the draw, India’s chances of qualifying for its third straight final also took a slight dent. If Maldives beat Cameroon today, the hosts will have to beat the African side in their last group encounter slated for Friday.
India have seven points from three matches, one more than Maldives and three ahead of Cameroon, who have played one match less.
Nepal put in a much-improved performance from their previous game, which saw them being thrashed 0-5 by Cameroon, and bagged the first points in the tournament.
Incessant rain again played spoilsport delaying the match by half an hour and making ground passes difficult.
India made two changes to the side that convincingly beat Maldives 3-0. Denzil Franco replaced the injured Nirmal Chhetri at right-back while winger Sanju Pradhan made way for Anthony Pereira.
However, neither team had any clear-cut chances even as Nepal looked more threatening of the two.
“I think Nepal adjusted to the (wet) conditions better than us,” India coach Wim Koevermans said. —