Nepal youth team goes down against Iraq


Kathmandu :

Nepal faced a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Iraq in their opening match of the AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers here at the Nepal APF Club grounds today.

Salah Ghazi Talib’s second half solitary goal was enough for the defending champions to record victory against hosts Nepal in the Group D match.

Nepal, who adopted defensive approach, were able to hold the visitors in the first half but conceded a goal in the 69th minute. Substitute Talib, who replaced Mohammed Ridha Alghannami in the 62nd minute, found the back of the nets from the edge of the box as Nepal goalkeeper Bishal Sunar failed to collect the ball.

Although Nepal were not able create much goal scoring chances, their defensive approach was instrumental in preventing Iraqi players from scoring. Alghannami came close to scoring in the 28th minute when he charged down from six-yard box after beating goalkeeper Sunar but defender Sanjib Aryal cleared the ball from goalline.

Nepali team head coach Sunil Kumar Shrestha lauded his players’ efforts throughout the match. “We were almost successful in our strategy but match turned to Iraq’s favour due to a silly mistake committed by our goalkeeper and defender,” said Shrestha.

Nepal will face India in their second match on Friday and coach Shrestha said he would adopt attacking approach against the South Asian rivals. “Since we lost three points today, we will play attacking game against India as the match will be do or die in our bid to qualify for the finals,” Shrestha added.

Iraqi coach Ali Hadi Mohsin said Nepali team played well but getting three points was important for his side. “Nepal’s approach to play defensive game was a good one. However, my boys outperformed them and we could score capitalizing on a mistake from Nepal goalkeeper,” said Mohsin.

In the day’s first match, India thrashed Palestine 3-0 riding on goals from skipper Vikram Pratap Singh, Bekey Oram and Givson Sing Moiranghtem.

September 21, 2017