Nepal hammer Pakistan for second victory

Kathmandu, October 28

Nepal thrashed Pakistan 9-0 in the third and final match of the AFC U-19 Women's Qualifier at the Chonburi Stadium in Thailand today and earned berth in the second round.

Nisha Thokar scored a hat-trick and Puja Rana netted a brace, while Manjali Kumari Yonjon, Samjhana Lawati, Alisa Zimba, and skipper Saru Limbu also found the back of the nets as Nepal registered their second victory.

In the day's another match, India beat Thailand 1-0. Hosts Thailand, Nepal and India all finished on six points after they registered two wins each. Thailand won the group and Nepal finished as runners-up, while India were third. Nepal earned the berth in second round after Thailand got automatic qualification to the finals as the hosts of the next year's tournament.

Nepal were better than India on ‘goals scored in head-to-head matches among tied teams' clause of the tournament regulation after both the teams were tied on six points having minus-one goal difference each. Nepal had defeated India 2-0 after facing a 3-0 loss at the hands of Thailand.

Nepal will now join five other group winners and two best runners-up. The eight teams will then be divided into two pools and top two sides each will join four already-qualified teams - Japan, North Korea, China and Thailand - in the finals.

Yonjon put Nepal head in the second minute of the match when she slammed home from close after Pakistan goalkeeper Tooba Idris Dar failed to collect a cross from left wing. Lawati doubled the tally in the 31st minute following a cross from Yonjon, while Zimba made it 3-0 six minutes later.

Nepal scored six more goals in the second half. Rana headed home following a cross from Lawati in the 48th minute and moments later she met the back pass from a Pakistani defender before firing home from the penalty box to make it 5-0. Thokar scored team's sixth goal in the 57th minute when she converted the free kick from the left wing.

Thokar then converted the penalty in the 74th minute and completed her hat-trick in the 85th minute. Skipper Limbu completed the rout with the team's ninth goal in the 89th minute when her cross from left wing entered the nets after Pakistan custodian Dar completely misjudged the ball.

Nepal coach Hariom Shrestha said the team should have won with bigger margin. “We could not score goals as expected. It may be because our main striker Rekha Poudel missed the match due to suspension and I think all the players went for goal,” said Shrestha.

“However, it might be enough for us to advance to the second round of the qualifiers. If we do, we need to improve and put up better shows,” he added.

Pakistan coach Mohammad Siddique Shiekh said the Nepali side took his team lightly.