COLOMBO: Nepal continued their domination over Pakistan with a whopping 8-0 victory in the second SAFF Women’s Championship here at the CR&FC grounds in Colombo today.
Skipper Jamuna Gurung scored four goals alone with Pramila Rai, Sajana Rana, Anu Lama and Dipa Adhikari joining the scoring spree for Nepal’s third comprehensive victory over Pakistan. In their previous two meetings, Nepal had defeated Pakistan 7-0 in the 11th South Asian Games in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh and 12-0 in the first SAFF Women’s Championship at the same venue both in 2010.
Nepal scored six goals in the first half and the scoring slowed down in the second half after coach Kishor KC changed three key players in forward Jamuna along with centre midfielder Niru Thapa and right winger Pramila. “I wanted to reserve their energy and Jamuna was having some natural problems as well. But, I am happy we have come up with three points,” said the coach after the match.
Despite the huge-margin victory, KC still saw some lapses in the team. “The midfield and striking line is not coordinating well and so is with the defense and midfield. The defense is also not up to the mark. This is only our first game and I believe we will improve as the tournament progresses,” added KC.
Nepal controlled the entire match weighing maximum ball possession keeping Pakistan defenders busy at their own half. Jamuna put Nepal ahead in the ninth minute when her shot from the area on a cross from Dipa deflected into the nets off a Pakistan defender. Just within a minute, Pakistan goalkeeper Mahpara Shahid made a beautiful save to deny the Nepali skipper’s header.
Pramila doubled the lead in the 16th minute with Mahpara failing to grip her feeble shot form a close range. In an eventful 24th minute, Sajana and Pramila hit the woodworks and Niru’s shot in rebound just went inches wide. Pakistan had a chance to reduce the deficit with unmarked Shahida Raza attempting a powerful shot from a close range only for Nepal goalie Chandra Devi Dahal to make a spectacular diving save. It was Pakistan’s only notable attack in the match.
Jamuna scored her second with a powerful shot leaving Pakistan goalie down and out in the 32nd minute and two minutes later she completed her hat-trick after Mahrab fumbled a shot from Chandra Bhandari. Sajana made it 5-0 with a splendid shot from the edge in the 42nd minute and just at the stroke of the half time Jamuna put the issue beyond doubt with a volley following a cross from Dipa. It was Jamuna’s 21st international goal.
Anu joined the scorer’s list in the 51st minute with a fine header rising to the highest to meet a superb cross from Dipa. The setter then turned scorer netting a powerful shot from 20 yards in the 72nd minute.
Pakistan coach Muhammad Rashid said his players took the pressure on themselves. “Apart from the pressure, the defenders were not able to do their job and they were outplayed by Nepali players’ skill and speed,” said the coach. Nepal will take on Maldives in their second Group ‘B’ match on Monday.
In another match, Afghanistan held Maldives to a 1-1 draw. The Afghans were the surprise leaders in the match when Hailai Argharndival scored in the second minute. Maldives equalised in the 38th minute with Riza Areesha replying for island nation. Though both sides kept pressed for goal, none of them managed to capitalise on the scoring opportunities in the second half.