Nepal beat Kyrgyzstan

Kathmandu, November 15:

Chetan Ghimire struck twice as Nepal defeated Kyrgyzstan 2-1 in the Under-17 AFC Championship Group F Qualifying Tournament match here at Dasharath Stadium today. Nepal will take on Uzbekistan in the last match of the three-team tournament, which sends the top team to the last 16 of the championship to be held in Bangladesh next year. Nepal needs full three points to qualify, while Uzbekistan — who beat Kyrgyzstan 2-0 on Sunday — needs a draw against Nepal. The day’s match was marred by some unruly behaviour from both sides’ players and Kyrgyzstan officials. Kyrgyzstan’s goalkeeping coach, Rasheed Mistchokov, even entered the pitch and manhandled Nepali players. Referee Anura De Silva Vidanagamage ordered the official to leave the box, while expelled one player from either side and cautioned other six players during the match.

The match was briefly interrupted when Bikash Singh Chhetri of Nepal manhandled Anton Zemlianhuhin after the Kyrgyzstan midfielder brought down the Nepali defender in the 75th minute. The players gathered near the Nepal’s D-Box and started manhandling each other and the Kyrgyzstani officials entered the field and abused the Nepali players. Chhetri, who was the main hero of the drama, escaped with a yellow card, while referee De Silva expelled Bharat Khawas. Kyrgyzstan was also reduced to 10 men when Maksim Yakovlev collected the second yellow card in the 85th minute. Biraj Maharjan and skipper Ranjit Shrestha of Nepal and Marat Matkasymov, skipper Mihail Buglak, Anton Zemlianhuhin and Andrey Hripkov of Kyrgyzstan were also booked during the match.

Nepal took lead in the 21st minute through Ghimire, who fired home an acrobatic volley on skipper Ranjit Shrestha’s free kick. Kyrgyzstan managed an equaliser in the 49th through Anton Zemlianhuhin, whose deflected free kick from the edge of the area kissed the net.

Ghimire put the home team ahead again in the 84th minute taking advantage of a mis-pass by a Kyrgyzstan defender. Nepal should have won the match with a comfortable margin, had the strikers not muffed up the opportunities. Azad Pradhan failed to connect on Anil Ojha’s cross in the ninth minute, while Pradhan’s free header on skipper Shrestha’s cross went over the cross bar in the 22nd minute.

Nepal goalkeeper Rupak Shrestha, twin brother of skipper Ranjit, saved Anton Zemlianhuhin’s header just before the first half whistle. B K Pukar should have scored in the 51st minute, but he ended up with a wide shot from close range on Ranjit Shrestha’s free kick. Rabin Shrestha,

who substituted Azad Pradhan in the 52nd minute, had a beautiful chance to score minute after he entered the field, but muffed up the opportunity from close range. Nepal custodian Rupak saved Anton Zemlianhuhin’s powerful strike a minute later. In the 69th, Chetan Ghimire

missed a chance to score when Kyrgyzstan goalkeeper Mahotin was the only player to beat. Ghimire almost completed his hat-trick in the second half injury time when he snatched the ball from a Kyrgyzstan defender but failed to score.

Nepal’s coach Raju Shakya was satisfied with the scoreline, but not with the players’ performance and the behaviour. “They failed to meet our expectations, but result wise the match was OK,” he told the post-match press conference. Kyrgyzstan coach Anarbek Ormombekov alleged the Nepali players of trying to win the match by other means. “The match could not be played in friendly manner as the Nepali side tried other means to win the match,” he accused through an interpreter. Asked about the Kyrgyzstan official’s behaviour, he tried to justify saying he had entered the field to calm down his players. Team manager Kemel Tokabaev said that he would write about the incident to the AFC.