KATHMANDU, JUNE 3
Nepal defeated Chinese Taipei 2-0 in the FIFA World Cup and AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers match at the Jaber Al-Hamad International Stadium in Kuwait City today.
Anjan Bista and substitute Nawayug Shrestha scored in either half of the match as Nepal recorded their second victory in the Qualifiers.
Nepal had defeated the same opponents by same score line in the first round match in September 2019. Nepal remained unbeaten in three matches against Chinese Taipei.
The two sides had played a 1-1 draw in a friendly match in 2019.
Playing under the scorching heat of 42 degrees celsius, Nepal opened the scoring in the fourth minute when Bista converted a spot kick for his third goal against Chinese Taipei.
Bista, who had scored both the goals in Nepal's 2-0 victory over Chinese Taipei in the first round match in June 2019, converted from the spot. Chinese Taipei goalkeeper Shih Shin-An made a right guess and dived to his right but he was unable to stop the superbly-taken penalty from Bista.
Nepal earned the penalty after Xheng Hao handled the ball inside the box while trying to block a free kick from Santosh Tamang.
A minute after Manish Dangi shot over the bar, substitute striker Nawayug Shrestha doubled the tally in the 81st minute.
Shrestha, who replaced Sunil Bal in the 69th minute, found the back of the nets with a left-footed shot from close range. Fed by Anjan Bista, Suman Aryal centred the ball for Shrestha, who did no mistake in putting the ball into the goal despite being under pressure from a defender.
Earlier, Nepal skipper and goalkeeper Kiran Kumar Limbu collected a header from Chen Ting-Yang following a free kick from Lin Chang-Lun in the 11th minute. Bista came close to doubling the tally in the 24th minute when he dodged as many as two defenders and put him in great position but he ended up shooting into the hands of Chinese Taipei custodian Shih Shin-An.
The second round matches of the joint qualifiers were shifted to the neutralised venue due to travel restrictions in various countries caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Nepal will face Jordan on June 7 and finish the campaign with a match against Australia four days later. Nepal had faced a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Jordan in the first round before suffering a 5-0 loss against Australia.
Nepal, who lost four matches and won one in the first round matches, remained at the fourth position with six points from six matches, while Australia are at the top with 12 from four games. Kuwait and Jordan have 10 points each, whereas Chinese Taipei are yet to open their accounts.
A version of this article appears in the print on June 4, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.