Nepal all but out of Under-16 Qualfiers

KATHMANDU: Three terrible blunders from the second choice goalkeeper Shumsher Khatri left Nepal with faint chances of qualifying into the AFC Under-16 Championship finals after their 3-0 loss to Iran in the Group B qualifiers at the Dashrath Stadium today.

Nepal have so far lost the first two matches and they will now be facing two strong teams, Bahrain and Tajikstan in the last two games, without a point. Tajikistan maintained their lead with seven points from three matches winning against Lebanon 3-0 today while Iran have four points from two games with two

more matches to go. Nepal, who will now have to depend on other matches, are all but out of the race. Bahrain and Lebanon have three points each from two games.

In the second league match against the defending champions Iran, Nepal were setting a good game but the momentum was broken when Man Bahadur Tamang cleared a shot from Iran player into his own net in the 34th minute. “It definitely was a goalkeeper’s clanger as he was supposed to make call for the ball. The match face would have been different had Shumsher made the call and saved the ball,” said coach Dambar Gurung, who started with Shumsher in place of first choice custodian Laxman Thapa.

Iran doubled their lead in the 60th minute when a weak shot from Hassanifar Mohammadreza inside Nepali area kissed the net after Shumsher failed to get hold of the ball. Shumsher then gifted another goal to Iran in the 88th minute when he slipped out while taking a free kick outside his area.

Iranian defender Abbas Aeineichi made no mistake

in converting it

from 30 yards in an empty net. “It was not the

goalkeeper’s shot but I don’t know why Shumsher came forward to shoot,” Gurung told after the match.

Nepal were setting the game well but as in the first match they muffed up a bundle of opportunities to find the back of the net. Nepal failed to take lead early in the match when Sameer Limbu produced a good cross inside the area but Amar Dangol, after taking a good turn, shot went inches above the cross bar.

Limbu then once again

created a scoring opportunity in the 60th minute with a

fine cross into the area but Santosh Thapa couldn’t capitalise on it. There was another chance for Nepal to bounce back when unmarked Amar Dangol missed to charge inside the Iran area on a cross from Ram Thapa. The scene was more frustrating after Dangol made no attack when he was on a one-on-one situation against the Iranian goalkeeper Masoud Alizadeh Khan in the 40th minute.

Iran coach Mohammadi Akbar said he was not satisfied with his team’s performance. “We were very poor in scoring as we missed lots of opportunities. It was Nepal who played well and left us with a good lesson,” said Akbar. Nepal coach Gurung said he was satisfied with the overall team performance despite the defeat.

Earlier, captain Rasulov Dilshod scored a brace as Tajikistan maintained their unbeaten run defeating Lebanon 3-0 to go atop the points table. Dilshod gave his team an early lead in the fourth minute converting a free kick into a sensational goal. Dilshod once again left some mark scoring in the 65th minute after Sultonov Tolibjon had doubled the lead early in the second half.

Lebanon were provided with some contentment in the dying moments of the match after the Yemen referee Mohammed Abdulla awarded them a spot kick but Moustafa Hassan failed to score. Lebanon also missed few scoring opportunities earlier in the match. Tajikistan coach Babaev Zoir said he was satisfied with his team’s performance but said the result could have been much better.