Nepal hold Singapore to goalless draw

Singapore, September 7 :

Nepal, who is already out of the competition after losing its previous matches against Japan and Korea Republic, earned some dignity by holding Singapore to a goalless draw in the last Group ‘A’ match of the AFC U-17 Championship here at Bishan Stadium today.

Nepal were playing for their pride and Bharat Khawas rattled the bar for them in the 25th minute. Zulfadhili Suzliman responded in kind but this was all the first half could produce in terms of meaningful moves. In the second half, Nepal was the better team, creating more chances but they were guilty of wasteful finishing.

Singapore coach Kadir Yahya said his team preferred not to concede more goals than go for a win in their last game. “We could have attacked a bit more but I told my players to concentrate on the game and not expose themselves by rushing to score more goals. This could have resulted in us conceding more goals and I didn’t want to make our job worse,” said Yahya. “And physically my boys were tired after three games on alternate days.”

Nepal coach Raju Shakya was upset with his team for missing so many goalscoring opportunities. “I am not happy with the result. I expected my players to play better than in the two matches. I think we could have won today but the players did not follow my instructions.”

A brace from ‘Captain Marvel’ Kota Mizunuma inspired Japan to a 3-2 win over archrivals Korea in another Group A game at the Jalan Besar Stadium and secured their spot in the quarter-finals. Korea Republic, who host the FIFA U-17 World Cup next year, became the first team to book their place in the last eight with a 2-0 defeat of hapless Nepal two days ago.

With this win, the unbeaten Japanese team emerged as the group champions,

and will play against the runner-up of Group B for a semi-final berth.