Nepal ‘Blue’ play draw

Kathmandu, March 7:

Nepal ‘Blue’ conceded a late equaliser against JW Team of Thailand and hurt their chances of progressing to the semi-finals of the PM Cup International Invitational Football Tournament here at the Dasharath Stadium today.

With a 2-3 defeat against Sri Lanka on Thursday and the 1-1 draw today left the hosts languishing bottom of the three-team Group ‘A’. Saturday’s game have also assured Sri Lanka the semi-final berth irrespective of their result against JW Team on Monday.

The hosts dominated the first half creating five clear chances but succeeding to convert just one of them. Nepali frontman Yugal Kishor Rai squandered an easy chance early in the sixth minute following a freekick from Dipak Bhusal. Yugal Kishor, who was left unmarked inside the box, headed straight into the hands of JW keeper Narong Wongthongkham.

The home side were also unlucky in the 10th minute when Nepal Police Club midfielder Bhola Silwal’s strike rebounded off the woodwork. Armyman Santosh Nepali also came close to scoring but his shot from the edge of the box sailed inches above of the cross bar.

The inexperience of young guns also cost the hosts dear as Nirajan Malla squandered two opportunities. Nirajan failed to beat the JW goalie in a solitary encounter following a superb through pass from Cheten Ghimire in the 41st minute. Nepal, however, took the deserved lead a minute later when Yugal Kishor headed home on a corner kick from Bhola Silwal. The hosts had yet another chance to double their lead a minute later but Nirajan mistimed a shot in one-on-one with JW keeper Wongthongkham.

The visitors, who were unable to create a single chance in the first half, pushed forward for an equaliser and kept constant pressure on the home team. Narongsak Mongkonhirun wasted an equaliser in the 79th minute shooting wide from close following a brilliant pass from Ratchanat Bumrungchat. The visitors’ pressure finally paid off in the 83rd minute as Bumrungchat headed in a corner from Wuttichai Yangdoem.

JW coach Kristsad Piandit said that the home team played far better than they were anticipating. “We could not find our rhythm in the first half and when we did we were able to score,” added the JW coach. He said that their game would improve in the next match.

Nepal ‘Blue’ assistant coach Mrigendra Mishra said that they deserved the victory after dominating the first part of the match. “We had to share a point despite playing better than our opponents,” said Mishra.

Nepal ‘Blue’ captain Santosh Sahukhala lamented on the missed chances. “We failed to convert too many chances and were forced to share a point,” added Sahukhala.