Kathmandu, 25 Oct 2009 - Nepal opened up their campaign of the AFC U-19 Group 'A' qualifiers on a bitter note going down 3-0 against Yemen at the Dashrath Stadium on Sunday.
An own goal from Ganesh Khadka put Yemen in front in the first half and a header from Al-Khamri Ahmed Sadeq Ahmed doubled the advantage for the visitors in the second half. Al-Worafi Essam Saleh Ahmed sealed the one-sided win for Yemen from a penalty.
Earlier in the day, Jordan and Tajikistan got off the mark, bagging three points at the Halchowk Stadium. Jordan downed Palestine 3-1 and Tajikistan routed their central Asian neighbour Kyrgyzstan 4-0.
The game was evenly matched until the first 40 minutes with both sides sharing equal amount of ball possession but all that changed when Khadka scored an own goal planting his header on the top corner from a free kick, leaving goalie Dinesh Thapa Magar helpless.
Nepal were constantly pushed back thereafter and Yemen got their reward after 53 minutes from Al-Khamri Ahmed Sadeq Ahmed header that was connected from a Al-Hubaishi Waleed Moha-mmed Hasan's free kick from just outside the penalty box. The home team still had hopes of reducing the deficit, but a penalty from Al-Worafi Essam Saleh Ahmed on 60 minutes ended any chances of a comeback for Nepal as miss passes and lack of ball possession ruined the home team's play. Ahmed converted the spot kick after his team Aiman Saleh Abdullah Al-Hagr — on a goal bound run — was fouled by defender Niraj Magar inside the penalty box.
Coach Raju Shakya tried desperately to pull a goal back sending in three strikers in the later stages of the game by substituting midfielder Rupesh K.C. for Bishal Rai, but even that failed to click.
Shakya fielded his fit-again striker Nirajan Malla, who had just recovered from an injury from the start. Malla tried his best but his striking partner Sujal Shrestha and
midfielders Ganesh Khadka, Jagjeet Shrestha and Rupesh K.C. could
not penetrate the defence and maintain ball
Shakya later said the team put a below par performance. “The match turned out to be something we had never expected. Our boys could not play well. But we will come out as a different team in the next games by learning from our mistakes.”
Jordan - 3, Palestine - 1
Tajikistan - 4, Kyrgyzstan - 0
Yemen - 3, Nepal - 0