Nepal play tame draw with Timor Leste

Kathmandu, November 5

Nepal missed a chance to earn the semi-finals berth after they played a goalless draw against Timor Leste in their Group A match of the AFC Solidarity Cup at the Stadium Negeri in Kuching, Malaysia today.

Nepal would have advanced to the last four with a win as Timor Leste had faced a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Brunei on Wednesday.

Timor Leste made superb come back against Nepal in their third encounter. They had faced 2-1 and 5-0 defeats against Nepal in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in Kathmandu in 2011.

With today’s result, Nepal need just a point against Brunei from Tuesday’s match to advance to the knockout stage, while Timor Leste will be wishing for a heavy defeat of Nepal. Nepal will make it to the semis even if they face 3-0 defeat against Brunei.

Nepal had good control of the game and created numbers of goal scoring chances but failed to execute them in the water logged-ground.

Nawayug Shrestha missed a chance in the 13th minute in one-on-one situation after he failed to give a finishing touch. The pitch became slippery after 30 minutes of play due to rain and both teams found it difficult to control the ball.

However, Nepal put pressure on the opponents and also created opportunities but all went in vain.

Shrestha missed another chance in the 47th minute as his long range shot hit the post.

Similarly, Sujal Shrestha’s shot in the 57th went out of the post, while Anant Tamang’s header off Anjan Bista in the 68th minute hit the cross bar.

Bharat Khawas, who replaced Nawayug Shrestha in the 60th minute, shoot the ball inches wide of the post in the 81st minute.

Nepal team head coach Gyotoku Koji said his players found it difficult in playing at the natural pitch. “Besides the humidity, the natural ground also played a major role in player’s poor performance as we trained on the artificial turf,” said the Japanese coach.

“Players did well in the second half as we instructed them to chase the opponents. Both forward and midfielders were responsible for poor finishing,” said Koji. “It is not negative result. We go ahead towards the next match with optimism,” he added.

Timor Leste head coach Fabio Da Silva said losing against Brunei was bad luck for the team. “We knew that there will be different game and difficult to qualify. The first game changed our fate,” Silva said.