Kyrgyzstan make it to 2010 finals

Kathmandu, March 30:

Kyrgyzstan qualified for the AFC Challenge Cup 2010 after a 1-1 draw against Palestine in the Group ‘C’ qualifying match at the Dasharath Stadium today.

All three teams including hosts Nepal finished with equal three points but Kyrgyzstan advanced on better goals. They scored two conceding two, while Nepal and Palestine scored one and conceded two each. Nepal finished second on lesser number of cautions than Palestine.

Nepal and Kyrgyzstan played a 1-1 stalemate, while the hosts drew 0-0 against Palestine in the opening match. The group was limited to three teams after Afghanistan pulled out of the tournament at the last moment.

After trading a chance each in the first 10 minutes, Kyrgyzstan took a lead when Mirlan Murzaev, who also scored an equaliser against Nepal on Saturday, converted the spot kick in the 20th minute. They were awarded the penalty when Baraghtha brought down Vadim Hatchenko inside the area.

However, Kyrgyzstan’s lead lasted for just nine minutes as Alsbakh Said levelled the scores heading home a cross from Attal Fahad. Kyrgyzstan twice missed the chance to regain their lead in the 38th minute. Anton Zemlianuhin’s powerful strike was cleared by Palestine defender Baraghtha and seconds later Artem Muladjanov’s header rebounded of the cross bar.

Palestine also had their chances saved by goalkeeper Maksim Agapov. Agapov denied Alabakhi in the 72nd minute before blocking a powerful strike from Aliwisat Ahmed in the injury time.

Kyrgyzstan coach Anarbek Ormombekov said his team qualified for the finals but was unhappy with his team’s performance. “We had a tough time here,” added Ormombekov. Palestine assistant coach Jamal said that a weaker team qualified for the finals. “Either Nepal or our team should have progressed,” said Jamal.

Rayamajhi, Gauchan, Neupane retire

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, March 30

Nepal’s all time international leading goalscorer Nirajan Rayamajhi along with Basanta Gauchan and Nabin Neupane hung up their boots here on Monday.

Raymajhi, who plays for New Road Team (NRT), was also in the Nepali squad for the AFC Challenge Cup Group ‘C’ qualifiers but did not appear in any of the two matches. Raymajhi made an international debut in the Asia Cup 2001 against Kuwait and is tied as the leading Nepali scorer with Nepal Police Club striker Hari Khadka with 13 goals.

Raymajhi, who made his club debut with Ranipokhari Corner Team (RCT), struck a hat-trick against Macau during the 2002 World Cup qualifiers in 2001. Raymajhi, who forced his way into the national team without playing any age-group tournaments, scored six goals during the WC qualifiers. “I though it’s the right time to hang up my boots as many talented players are on the rise,” said Raymajhi, better known as goal-machine.

NRT midfielder Gauchan made his international debut in 1997 SAFF Championship and was an integral part of the national side until 2001. Now with the NRT, Gauchan made his club debut with RCT. Gauchan was overlooked since 2001 Asia Cup qualifiers.

Neupane, who made international debut in 2003 SAFF Championship, last time represented the country in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers against Oman in 2007. The NRT player started his club career with Naxal Yuva Mandal. Neupane was a dynamic player having played as a forward, midfielder and defender.

All Nepal Football Association President Ganesh Thapa felicitated the trio by offering coats during the interval of the AFC Challenge Cup Group ‘C’ qualifying match between Kyrgyzstan and Palestine at the Dasharath Stadium. All three players said that they would continue playing club football.