KATHMANDU, June 22: Having only mathematical chances to make it through to the next stage, host Nepal will take on Jordan in its last match of group D in the qualifiers for AFC U-22 Championship at the Dasharath Stadium on Friday.
Jordan, dubbed as the favorite from the group is on top of the standings with six points maintaining its cent percent record. Uzbekistan with two wins from as many matches is in second spot despite having equal points as that of Jordan.
Host Nepal with a win in the opening match and two consecutive defeats is placed in the fourth spot in the five team qualifiers.
A victory over mighty Jordan alone won´t be sufficient for the home team to make it through to the next round, it will depend on the results from other matches. A miracle must occur for Nepal to make it to the next round. A defeat or a draw will send the home team crashing out of the tournament.
Looking at the status of both the teams, Jordan will be strong opponent for the Nepali team. Jordan is placed in the 80th spot and Nepal in the 149th in FIFA´s senior men´s rankings.
Nepal´s coach Krishna Thapa also believes that his side has only a slim chance of progressing. However, Thapa has vowed to come up with Nepal´s natural style of play. "We will not be intimidated by Jordan and play our natural game."
A defeat or draw might be a setback for Jordan as it has yet to confirm its place in the final with still two matches to play. Jordan´s coach Daian Saleh is also in no mood to take the home team lightly. "Nepal is a strong team and we will not take them lightly. Some players of the home team are skillful and fast," said Saleh who is eying to seal a place in the final stage with a victory over the home team.
Meanwhile, the match against Jordan will also be an opportunity for Nepali players to avenge the humiliating 9-0 defeat at the hands of Jordan during the first leg of World Cup Qualifiers held in July, 2011 in Jordan by the senior team. However, football analysts believe it would be a Herculean task.