Merdeka cup: Nepal keep hopes alive

Kathmandu, October 17:

Nepal drew 2-2 with Afghanistan in the Group A match at the Merdeka Cup Football Tournament in Kuala Lumpur today.

The draw means Nepal have chances to enter the semi-finals as Group A runners up if they beat Sierra Leone on Sunday and the hosts Malaysia beat Afghanistan. Malaysia, who beat Sierra Leone 3-0 today, entered the last four with six points.

On Friday, Hasham Tullah put Afghanistan ahead and scored the late equaliser, while Anil Gurung and Vijay Gurung scored for Nepal. After a goalless first half, Afghanistan took lead in the 62nd minute when Hasham Tullah beat Sagar Thapa and Chun Bahadur Thapa to score his first goal of the match.

Anil Gurung scored the equaliser in the 63rd minute following a pass from fellow striker Jumanu Rai. Vijay Gurung then put Nepal ahead in the 72nd minute. Bhola Silwal took the long ball from goalkeeper Ritesh Thapa and beat the off-side trap before releasing to unmarked Gurung, who slotted past Afghanistan goalkeeper.

In the 76th minute, Hasham Tullah levelled the scores at 2-2 with his second goal of the match. Nepal will take on Sierra Leone on Sunday.