Nepal take on Philippines today

Lalitpur, November 13

Nepal national football team will take on the Philippines in their home match of the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers here at the ANFA Complex grounds on Tuesday.

The match does not carry any significance for the home team as Nepal are already out of the race. Nepal had lost to the Philippines 4-1 in their away match in March. Nepali head coach Koji Gyotoku said his team will be trying to work out on the errors committed in previous encounters.

“We have to work in the defense and attacking as well as try to narrow the gap,” said Koji at a pre-match press meet. Koji also said Nepal will return to previous style of play, the 4-4-2 formation. Playing with the new formation of 3-4-3, Nepal faced a 3-0 last month in Hisor. “We will play with 4-4-2 formation against the Philippines as our key defenders Devendra Tamang and Aditya Chaudhary will not be available for the match due to injuries,” said Koji.

Currently, Nepal are at the bottom in the four-team standing with just one point, while the Philippines are at the top with eight points. Yemen and Tajikistan are tied on six points. Group winners and runners-up will qualify for finals to be hosted by the United Arab Emirates in 2019. Nepal are yet to taste victory in the qualifiers. They suffered a 4-1 defeat against the Philippines, played a goalless draw against Yemen, suffered 2-1 and 3-0 losses against Tajikistan.

Meanwhile, Anil Gurung was recalled in the squad and has been assigned the duty of skipper. Gurung said the team will go for win against mighty Philippines. “We are aware that Philippines are far ahead of us but we will go for a win,” he said. Gurung, who has announced his retirement from national team after the match, said Nepali football was facing a drought of players due to the lack of domestic football. “We have not be able to come up with new players due in the absence of the league,” added Gurung.

Philippines head coach Thomas Dooley said his side will be taking the match seriously. “We have to give everything to win the match and qualify for the finals. I hope the result will be in our favour,” said Dooley. Dooley also said that his team’s victory over Nepal in March will have nothing to do in Tuesday’s game. “We have to play our best as Nepal have improved a lot and we cannot underestimate them,” added Dooley.

Philippines skipper Philip James Younghusband said the match against Nepal was important one for his side. “We have got the biggest opportunity to qualify for the finals and we are excited for the match,” he said.