Nepal’s hopes of recording their first ever win at the Asian Games ended in a 2-1 defeat against Pakistan at the Patriot Chandrabhaga Stadium in Bekasi, Indonesia.
The result follows 1-0 loss to Japan and 2-0 defeat against the Vietnam in their Group ‘D’ match. With high hopes of defeating Pakistan, Nepal went into the match with a slim chance of securing a round-of-16 berth vie best third-place finish. But that wasn’t to be and instead Pakistan will await for other results to see if they found themselves among the best four third-place teams from six pools. Apart from winners and runners-up of each group, the best four third-place finishes also qualify for the round-of-16 stage.
Nepal went ahead early in the 12th minute courtesy of an own goal from Shahbaz Younas but the South Asian rivals came roaring back after the break. Muhammad Bilal scored an equaliser in the 54th minute. Pakistan should have gone 2-1 up in the 67th minute as Saddam Hussain’s effort hit the woodwork. However, Hussain was not to be denied in the 72nd minute as the Pakistani skipper scored the decider and secured all three points in the Under-23 tournament. Each team however is allowed to field three over-aged players as well. Nepal included goalkeeper-cum-captain Kiran Chemjong, midfielder Bishal Rai and attacking defender Rohit Chand under the over-aged quota.
Nepal and Pakistan had previously met on 14 occasions, all at the senior level. Nepal have won five, lost four and drawn five of them. The last meeting between the two teams was during 2013 Saff Championship group stage in Kathmandu which ended in a 1-1 draw. Nepal have never won a single game in Asiad in five editions they have participated in so far. To add to their misery Nepal have scored just one once while conceding a massive 65 goals in the 15 matches.
In other matches of the same group, Nguyen Quang Hai scored the only goal to give Vietnam a 1-0 win over 2010 champions Japan at the Wibawa Mukti Stadium.
The result meant Vietnam finished as Group ‘D’ winners and Japan as runners-up. Vietnam will take on one of the third best-placed teams on August 23, while Japan will meet the Group ‘E’ winners the following day.Published: 2018-08-20 08:49:16