10-man Nepal go down to Philippines 4-1

KATHMANDU: Nepal's losing streak against the Philippines continues as they went down to the hosts 4-1 in their AFC Asian Cup 2019 qualifiers opener at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila on Tuesday.

Nepal were reduced to 10 men as early as in 14th minute after Bikram Lama was shown straight red card for a deliberate hand ball inside the box giving away sloppy plenty in the early exchanges of the game.

Nepal's custodian Kiran Chemjong, however, thwarted tame penalty kick as he dived low to his left and parried to safety and kept his team in the game.

The 10-man Nepal's game plan was shattered as they conceded three early goals in the first half of the game.

Skipper Phil Younghusband, who missed the first penalty, scored a brace within three minutes when the first half was halfway.  Iain Ramsay added third goal in the 27th minute to extend the advantage for the Azkals.

Bishal Rai scored a goal in the added time of the first half. But the goal was not enough for Nepal to resurrect. Javier Patino scored in the 72nd minute for the hosts in the stadium that witnessed an attendance by more than 1,750 spectators.

Nepal are playing without their prolific striker Nawayug Shrestha in this tie.

Despite putting on stern show against the hosts, Nepal conceded two penalty kicks in the early stages as the hosts mounted barrage of attacks into the Nepal goal. Finally the hosts broke the deadlock through a penalty kick on 22nd minute.

Nepal failed to impose into the game and at times looked inferior to the technically and physically superior Philippines side as they dominated the possession and tormented the Nepali rearguard with ease at wills from the word go.

Philippines' pressing game yielded them two quick goals as they scored against run-a-play in the first half.

Nepal's Rohit Chand chipped a delightful ball to Robin Shrestha, who timed his run to perfection, nutmugged a defender with a cut back to Bishal Rai, who then coolly slotted home from six yards out to reduce arrears on the stroke of first half.

A minutes later  Nepal's Robin Shrestha dazzled on the left flank, turned the defender inside out before drawing a routine save from the Philippines goalkeeper to earn  a corner kick for Nepal.

Philippines nearly extended their lead following a Nepal's corner kick, a lightening break at the other end nearly put through a striker  to goal before a Nepali defender intercepted with a fine tackle.

Nepal started the second half brightly putting men forward in search of second goal. In 67th minute, Nepal's midfielder Rohit Chand unleashed a left footed pile driver from distance as a ball dipped and swiveled just over the cross bar.

Soon after the hosts restored their three goal cousin as a fine move down the left flank carved open Nepali defence. An unmarked striker slotted a fourth goal  just outside the box to the right corner beyond full-stretch diving Kiran Chemjong.

Nepal were pegged back in their own half in the second half, but produced some breathtaking counterattacks despite numerical disadvantage which the Philippines defender thwarted with ease.

Nepal pushed men forward in the dying minutes of the game in search of away goals but to no avail. They failed to penetrate the hosts' defence.

Nepal had secured the passage into the third round of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 qualifier after lifting the AFC Solidarity Cup in Malaysia.

Earlier, Nepal were eliminated from the qualifying round of the competition.

The Philippines are ranked 124th position in the FIFA world ranking 46th position higher than Nepal.

Nepal are 1-3 behind in head-to-head against the hosts with the lone triumph dating back to 1982 in the Kings Cup.

Nepal have lost the last three encounters, all international friendlies from 2011 to 2014.

Nepal would play against the same opposition in their return leg fixture in the Nepali capital on November 14.

Nepal are pitted against the Philippines, Yemen and Tajikistan in Group F.

Nepal are set to face Yemen on June 13 and Tajikistan on September 5. They will lock their horns with Tajikistan and Yemen respectively on October 10 and March 27, 2018.


Nepal drawn in difficult pool in AFC Asian Cup 2019 Qualifiers