HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Nepal thumped Bangladesh 4-1 in the inaugural day match of the AFC Under-22 Championship Group D Qualifiers here at the Dasharath Stadium today.
Sujal Shrestha scored a brace, while skipper Bharat Khawas and Jagjit Shrestha netted one each for the hosts. Bangladesh got on the score sheet thanks to an own goal from Nepali defender Deepak Bhusal, who headed in inside his own post following a throw in from Rayhan.
Earlier, 10-man Jordan outplayed Yemen 4-0, on goals from Musab Allahham, Mahmoud Zatara, Hamza Al Dardour and Khalil Khalil Zaid Baniateyah. Jordan were reduced to 10 man after Dardour — who opened the scoring in the 28th minute — was expelled in the 41st minute after he fouled Ebrahim Gehamah when the Yemen defender was lying on the ground.
Nepal made a flying start with skipper Bharat Khawas putting the hosts ahead with an early head goal in the fifth minute following a free kick from Anil Ojha. Jagjit Shrestha wasted two golden opportunities in the first half when he muffed up in an open net following an inch-perfect cross from his skipper Bharat. Jagjit then ended up with a wide shot on similar chance, this time Anil was the provider from left flank.
The Nepali supporters were stunned four minutes into the second half when Deepak Bhusal deliberately headed inside his own post that brought Banladesh level at 1-1. But it was all Jagjit in the second half as he scored one and assisted another two for Sujal Shrestha.
Jagjit restored the home team’s lead in the 61st minute with a header on Amir Shrestha’s pass after the substitute player collected a rebound following his own corner. Fed by jagjit, Sujal headed home in the 67th minute to make it 3-1, while Sujal headed home Jagjit’s free kick moments before the final whistle.
Nepal coach Krishna Thapa accepted the team came under pressure after conceding the equaliser. “We were under pressure briefly, but the boys showed improved performance one the lead was restored,” said the happy coach. He also said the team should have won by bigger margin. “We missed a couple of certain goal scoring opportunities,” he said, adding he was confident the boys would put on even better performance in the next match.
Bangladesh coach Syed Golam Jilani said the team badly missed the services of their two key players. “The absence of our two key players and the defensive errors were the reasons behind the loss,” he said. “Even I was unaware two of my boys were not included in the squad,” he fumed.
On Monday, Nepal will take on Yemen, while Bangladesh will play against Uzbekistan.