Historic win for Nepal

Picture Courtesy: Republica
KATHMANDU, July 2: Nepal advanced into the second round of FIFA World Cup 2014 Asian Qualifiers on Saturday. Nepal scored an impressive 5-0 win over East Timor in the second leg of qualifiers to win the first round of two-leg qualifiers 7-1 in aggregate at the Dasharath Stadium. 

With this win, Nepal qualifies to play the second round of World Cup Qualifiers for the first time since its participation in the 1986 World Cup. 
The win is also one with the widest margin for Nepal in international tournament since 2001. The last time Nepal had achieved this kind of win was against Macau in 2001 World Cup Qualifiers. At the home ground, Nepal had defeated Bhutan 7-0 in 1999 during Eighth SAFF. 

Nepal will now play against Jordan in the next round on July 23 and 28. 

In Saturday´s win, the goals came from five different players with maiden international goals from three players. Bhola Silwal, Jagjeet Shrestha and Sujal Shrestha marked their first international goal. Anil Gurung and Jumanu Rai were also on target for the winning side. Four goals for the home team came in the second half. 

With his goal, Rai took his international goal scoring tally to nine, leveling with the second highest scorer Ganesh Thapa, the former national player and ANFA President. Nirajan Rayamajhi and Hari Khadka jointly led the highest scorer list with 13 goals. Gurung also netted his seventh international goal. 

In the jam-packed stadium with the capacity of 18,000 spectators, Nepal dominated the show and took a fourth minute lead through penalty much like in the previous match. Gurung converted the penalty awarded to the home side after Jagjeet Shrestha was fouled by defender Correia in the penalty box. 
"I was confident about winning the match," Nepal´s British coach Graham Roberts, who turns 52 after the match, said after the match. He was wearing Daura-Surwal until the first-half. The Nepali team has won five, lost one, and drawn one match after his appointment as the Nepal´s national coach about five months ago.

But he changed the national attire during the interval saying that he wanted to put on a loose dress. 

In the one-sided match, Nepal´s attempt for other goals materialized only after the interval. Silwal doubled the tally in the 56th minute from a close-range taking advantage of misunderstanding between Timor custodian Diamantino Leong and Corriea after they left the ball passing ahead of them supplied by Gurung paving the way for Silwal. 

Three minutes later, Rai slammed a powerful semi-volley from the edge of the box, chest-controlling a pass from Biraj Maharjan to net the third. Shrestha-duo Jagjeet and Sujal netted in the second last and last minute of the regulation time. Jagjeet sent the ball past the net from a short-distance after he met goalie Leong´s rebounder off substitute Anil Ojha´s strike. 

Substitute Sujal, 64th minute replacement of Rai, beat goalie from the box with an attractive display to seal the victory on a Nirajan Khadka´s pass. 
Nepal which played with 5-3-2 formation created about a dozen attractive moves unlike the opponents who made only a couple of attacks on target which were calmly caught by Nepal´s custodian Kiran Chemjong. 

"We could have scored 5-6 goals before the interval," coach Roberts said after the match, adding, "We have a good team and the boys played fantastic."

Nepal´s first attempt on goal came in the first minute when defender Sandip Rai´s 30-yard freekick hit the woodwork. Silwal and Rabin Shrestha missed the target by inches in the first half. Similarly, skipper Sagar Thapa´s close-range shot was denied by goalie Leong. In the 83rd minute, Ojha´s shot from short-distance with only goalie as obstacle went inches wide. 

Nepal´s skipper Sagar Thapa said that he was confident of an easy win if there was no rainfall. 

Timor´s assistant coach Manugl Dia Costa Suargi said that his side became morally down after conceding first penalty goal. "We were also physically weak," Suargi said, adding, "I want to congratulate Nepal and wish success in their next round of match.

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