Nepal's hope ends, title race open for top three

Kathmandu, 1 Nov 2009 - Nepali team was humiliated 3-2 on Sunday by nine-men Jordan in the tense match of the AFC U-19 Championship group ´A´ qualifiers held at the Dasharath Stadium.

Nepal´s hope of entering in the final round of the tournament got shattered with the loss, while Jordan climbed on to the top of table with 10 points. Now the race has become wide open for the top three teams--Jordan, Tajikistan (nine points) and Yemen (eight points).

Jordan being limited to 10 and nine men in the 35th and 75th minute scored the second and winner goal in the hard fought match with player´s deficit against home team in the 37th and 88th minute respectively.

Nepal which needed a must win to keep their hope for final round conceded the first goal in the 25th minute through a close range strike of Mahmoud Zatara utilizing a cross pass from Suhib Wihaybi.

However, Nepal with an attempt at comeback leveled the match three minutes later as Nirajan Malla made a spectacular slide kick.

Jordan defender Mohammad Zureigat was slapped with the first red card following his elbow attack to Nirajan who had fallen in the ground after they collided with each other and were grounded. But the Jordan team with high spirit took the lead again in 37th minute after Nepali custodian Dinesh Thapa Magar made a blunder. Suhib beat Dinesh, who came away from the post and netted the ball in between two defenders.

Again, Shiva Shrestha made a beautiful volley kick in the 73rd minute from the edge of the box, much to the delight the Nepali fans, and take the match in 2-2 draw.

Jordan midfielder Mustafa Saleh had got marching orders after getting the second yellow card three minute before they conceded the equalizer. But Mohammad Jamjoom of Jordan scored the winner two minutes before finishing time to give a blow to the home team.

Nepali team, which dominated the second half of the match, made about half dozen good chances of scoring in but in vain.

Jordan coach Semida Mohamed said that Nepal displayed a good football. “However we took the full points,” he said.

Nepali coach Raju Shakya said that his team was under pressure as they needed a must win in the match. “The players were under pressure as it was a do or die match for us,” he said. “The players played well and we created lot of opportunities, but we were unable to utilize them,” he added.

Earlier, in the first match, Kyrgyzstan registered their first win of the tournament to open their account with three points. Shamshiev Islam and Abdukaimov scored one each for the winning side in the 30th and 70th minute against the Palestine who got restricted to 10 men after skipper Alaaeddin Yamin was shown red card in the 83rd minute.

The Palestine French Moussa Bezaz claimed the referee´s decision of showing red card to his players was stupid. He also accepted that his team could not play well and they deserved the loss. “My players also underestimated the opponents,” he said.

Kyrgyzstan coach Aleksandrov Vladimir said that he was happy with the results. However, unsatisfied with the team´s performance he said, “My team did not play well.”

Tajikistan´s unbeaten record came to an end as Yemen defeated them 3-0 at the Halchowk Ground.

Although the first half remained goalless, Yemen dominated the entire match. Tajik player Ulmasov Naim got the marching orders in the 43rd minute as he got two yellow cards in the first half.

Yemen was awarded a penalty in the early minutes of the second half as Tajik goalkeeper Saidjon pushed an opponent. Al Worafi scored the penalty shot in the 54th minute giving Yemen a lead.

The Tajik team got some relief as Yemen´s Al Baidhani got a second yellow card in 75th minute for touching the ball while holding a bottle of water.

Aiman Saleh doubled the lead in 81st minute as he scored from the box. Though Saleh´s first attempt was blocked by Saidjon, he succeeded to score as the ball slipped from the goalkeeper´s hand. Al Hubaishi of Yemen sealed the match with another goal two minutes later.

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