A massive home crowd and exhilarating support did not help Nepal football team as they got beaten by spirited Palestine 2-0.
Fahed Attal of Palestine netted both the goals in 4th and 64th minute of the game to seal the fate of the game. Right in the 4th minute, a long ranger was saved by Nepali goalkeeper Kiran Limbu but the ball on rebound was passed to Fahed who scored.
Nepal shared the domination for equal part of the game but Palestinians proved too strong and too fast on the counter for the Nepalese. It was in the 26th minute that Nepal showed some strength. They came very close to scoring when Anil Gurung passed the ball to Jumanu Rai. His low shot unfortunately hit the far corner.
The next 10 minutes Nepal showed good football and created half chances through Biraj Mahajan and Rohit Chand. One of Rohit’s long ranger looked dangerous.
Anil Gurung headed in a beautiful cross in the 37th minute poorly. In the 40th minute, Sagar Thapa, the scorer of a wonder-goal in SAFF Cup got a free-kick. He set in a good cross but the goalkeeper reached the ball before Anil could do so.
At the end of the first half, the score was Palestine 1-0 Nepal. The second half started with the same tempo for Nepal. They created many chances . But 55th minute onwards, the game remained stuck in the midfield. In the 64th minute, Biraj put in a dangerous cross but Anil failed again. This proved fatal as Fahed scored on the fast counter-attack to take the game away.
Palestine then replaced Alaa Atya with Abuhabib and went on a defensive mode. Several attempts by Nepal could not move the bus parked in front of the Palestine goalpost. Even 4 minutes of extra time did not help.
Nepal played entertaining attacking football but looks like not much has changed since SAFF Cup 2011. They are still suffering from lack of good strikers who can finish the ball home.
Nepal XI: Kiran Limbu (GK), Sagar Thapa(C), Sandip Rai, Rohit Chand, Biraj Maharjan, Rabin Shrestha, Nirajan Khadka, Raju Tamang, Bharat Khawas, Anil Gurung, Ju Manu Rai
Palestine XI: Ramzi Saleh (GK,C), Husam Abusalah, Khaled Mahdi, Mousa Abujazar, Ashraf Alfawaghra, Mohammed A M Mohammed,Husam Wadi, Murad Said, Khader Abuhammad, Fahed Attal, Alaa Atya