Nepal, Philippines play draw
Lalitpur, November 14
Nepal held the Philippines to a 0-0 draw in the Group F match of the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers here at the ANFA Complex grounds today.
The draw meant the Philippines will have to wait for their last match in their bid to earn Asian Cup finals berth for the first time. Nepal, who are already knocked out of the race, accumulated two points from five matches, while the Philippines are leading the table with nine points and are just one point away from qualifying.
Meanwhile, Yemen and Tajikistan also played goalless draw and both the teams are tied on seven points after five matches. Nepal will play their last match against Yemen, while the Philippines will take on Tajikistan in their last encounter. The matches will decide the group winners and runners-up.
Nepal, who had faced a 4-1 defeat against the Philippines in their away match in March, played attacking game in the beginning and also threatened the goal. Sujal Shrestha came close to scoring in the 17th minute but he hit directly into the hands of the Philippines custodian Neil Leonard Etheridge from the edge of the box.
Philippines missed a couple of goal scoring chances in the first half. Carlos De Murga headed just over the bar following a cross from Iaim Ramsey in the 21st minute, while Simone Rota did the same in the 29th minute in a rebound after the Philippines skipper Philip James Younghusband’s free kick was punched by Nepali goalkeeper Kiran Kumar Limbu. The Philippines goalkeeper Etheridge nearly scored an own goal when he tried to dodge striker Anjan Bista.
The visitors wasted a couple of chances in the second half after Nepal opted defensive approach. Skipper Younghusband hit over the cross bar after Simone Rota’s attempt was punched by Nepali goalie Limbu in the 61st minute.
Nepal also missed an opportunity as Nawayug Shrestha’s shot was blocked by Dennis Villanueva in the 78th minute and Bimal Gharti Magar hit wide in
Nepal head coach Gyotoku Koji said his side played well against the Philippines. “We were able to have the ball possession as per the plan and also used strikers after the interval to create goal scoring chances,” said Koji. “And we were able to get a point from the match,” said Koji, who did not use Jagajeet Shrestha “as the midfielder did not match other players’ level.”
The Philippines head coach Thomas Dooley said his side needed to win the match to qualify for the finals. “It would have been easier for us had we won the match. Now, we have to wait for the last match,” said Dooley. “Nepal played a good game.”