Nepal rally to hold Uzbekistan; Bhutan win

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 13:

Nepal rallied to hold Uzbekistan to a 1-1 draw, while Bhutan registered a convincing 3-0 win over Turkmenistan in the day’s matches of the AFC-Mayos Under-14 Festival of Football, here at Dasharath Stadium today. After a tedious 30-minute first half which saw Nepali players losing their rythm, Uzbekistan took lead in the 52nd minute through Lupashko Alexander on Mardiyev Khurshid’s rebound.

Khurshid’s 35-yarder powerful shot hit the cross bar and rebounded to play and Alexander chipped in the ball taking advantage of Nepali goalkeeper Sandeep Thapa. Uzbekistan were well set to end Nepal’s three-match winning streak, but Chetan Ghimire scored the equaliser in the first minute of the four-minute injury time. Ghimire headed in the ball on Ranjit Shrestha’s corner. Sanjeev Limbu of the home team earned a green card worth 10 points, while Uzbekistan skipper Nishonov Jakhongir and Nurmatov Jamshid were cautioned with yellow cards. Subash Rayamajhi of Nepal was declared the most valuable player of the match.

“Our boys failed to utilise the opportunities they got in the first 10 minutes and came in pressure,” said Nepal team coach Sunil Shrestha, admitting the low performance of the team. Another coach Diken said that the team has been suffering from injuries to the key players like Ranjit Shrestha and Deepak Bhusal. “Both the teams played a 50-50 match,” said Uzbekistan manager Klinov Anatoliy at the post-match conference, who favoured neutral referees in the festival. “We tried to hold on the lead, but mistakes are natural,” he said.

Earlier, Bhutan registered a convincing 3-0 victory over Turkmenistan on goals from skipper Phurba Wangdi, Karma Dorji and Lakpa Tshering.

The Bhutanese skipper Wangdi was declared the most valuable player of the match and Ata Geloyew of Turkmenistan got a yellow card. With two days and four matches remaining, Nepal lead the standing with 163 points. Bhuta are on the second position with 106.72 points followed by Uzbekistan (94.29). Fourth-placed India (81.71) and sixth-placed Pakistan (75.29) have two games on hand, while Turkmenistan (81.15) are o the fifth spot behind India by just 0.56 point. On Wednesday, India will take on Turkmenistan while Pakistan are scheduled to play against Uzbekistan at the same venue.