Life difficult for Nepal after defeat

source: The Kathmandu Post


DHAKA, DEC 08 - Nepal's hopes of making it to the semifinals of the SAFF Championship suffered a huge blow after they succumbed to a narrow 1-0 defeat against India in Group 'A' matches held at the Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka on Monday.

India, which is fielding a U-23 squad in the event, bagged their second win of the championship to qualify for the semifinals with six points. They had beaten Afghanistan by an identical scoreline in their first game. The regional giants went in front in the 17th minutes from Jibon Singh's header that came after Nepal custodian Bikash Malla parried a free kick charged from the edge of the penalty box.

Though India emerged as the winners, their performance looked inferior in front of the spirited Nepal team, which kept the Indian custodian busy creating a host of chances especially in the second half but returned empty handed in all occasions due to the lack of the composure in front of goal.

Nepal had their first crack on goals in the opening eight minutes when Raju Tamang's free kick from the left flank missed the target by whiskers. It was Sagar Thapa, who came agonisingly close to equalising in 31st minute but was unlucky to see his effort sail past the post. Anil Gurung was in the thick of things five minutes later in a one-on-one attempt but again had to return empty handed.

At the other end, India could have doubled their lead five minutes before the interval had it not been for Anjan K.C, who headed the ball to safety from the goal mouth after Malla was beaten.

Nepal upped their tempo after the first half dominating ball possession for almost the entire 45 minutes. The first real chance of the second half fell to Anil Gurung, who had a header denied by Indian goalkeeper. Jumanu Rai, Biraj Maharjan and Rohit Chand all came close to scoring in the second half.

The loss means, Nepal, with just a point to their credit, face an uphill task to make it to the next round as holders Maldives, the other member in the group grabbed a stunning come from behind 3-1 victory over Afghanistan in the first game of the day. Nepal will have to beat Afghanistan by a bigger margin should they qualify for the next round.

Nepal coach Krishna Thapa has already played down his team's chances of advancing. He said: “Nepal's road to next round has become more difficult because our last match against Afghanistan is ahead of the match between Maldives and India. Since India has already qualified to the semis there are chances India will take the game lightly.”

Speaking about the match, Thapa blamed the loss for the missed opportunities throughout the match.

1 comment:

Sthapa said...

By going down to India Nepal finds herself in a precarious position.
Going by reports, Nepal churned out a spirited performance and came close to scoring dime a dozen times but India's custodian proved unbeatable on the day.
The Indian defense stood rock solid and kept the barnstorming Nepali attacking machine at bay. Despite enormous pressure they successfully defended their citadel, especially after the lemon break.
The defeat is a huge setback for Team Nepal. Their chances of making it to the last four has considerably slimmed down.
With just one point we are behind India and Maldives in point standings.
Mathematically we have an outside chance but is a very long shot.
We can make it only if India gets the better of Maldives 1-0, and we beat Afghanistan 3-0.
Before we paint different scenarios, our focus must be on Afghanistan.
Obviously,we have to play our best football in order to convincingly overcome Afghanistan,which I feel is a tall order but possible.
Let us hope that lady luck smiles on us.