KATHMANDU, June 22: Jordan qualified for the final round of AFC U-22 Championship from Group D on Friday sending the host Nepal crashing out of tournament with a convincing 3-0 win at the Dasharath Stadium, Kathmandu.
With a match still in hand, Jordan became the first team to make it through to final round maintaining its cent percent winning run in the five team qualifiers. Top two teams from the group secure berth for the final to be held in 2013.
Playing three matches Jordan has nine points while Nepal is in fourth place with three points. Nepal achieved only one victory in its four matches scoring six goals and conceding nine goals.
In the day´s second match played under the floodlights, Jordan dominated the show from the beginning to final whistle and piled consistent pressure. Nepal on the other hand looked helpless and failed to mount attack on the Jordan goal.
Mussab Allaham netted twice for the visiting side including the opener and the third goal. Mahmoud Zatara scored the second goal.
Jordan however, had to wait until 40th minute to open the scoring despite mounting about half a dozen attacks. Allaham dribbled past three opponent defenders in the area and his well placed shot went past goalie Dinesh Thapa Magar who was included in the starting line up for the first time.
Zatara doubled the tally in the 75th minute with an easy shot from the close range. Zatara was supplied by Ibrahim Daldoom after intercepting the ball from Amir Shrestha. Allaham sealed the victory 10 minutes from time with a well placed low shot from the edge of area.
"We were down physically and mentally in today´s match," Nepal´s coach Krishna Thapa commented during the post-match conference. "We were in poor physical condition as we played four matches in seven days," Thapa said adding, "The boys were also under mental stress as they had not expected to qualify even if we secured victory over Jordan."
Thapa also lamented over short preparation and lack of warm up matches. He however, expressed satisfaction over his side´s overall performance during the qualifiers.
Nepal´s skipper Bharat Khawas also expressed similar sentiments. "We could not get enough rest as we played matches on alternative days while other team got time for rest," Khawas said. He said the short preparation and lack of warm up matches was another cause for the defeat. Khawas also lauded team´s effort in the match. "All the boys gave their cent percent."
Meanwhile, Jordan´s coach Daian Saleh said the day was one of the best days of his life. "To qualify for the finals is one of the best days of my life." Saleh informed that his side played 10 friendly matches as part of the preparation for the tournament.
Yemen keeps hope alive
In the day´s first match, Yemen played a 1-1 draw against Uzbekistan to keep its hope afloat for the final round. A defeat could have sent Yemen out of the tournament with a match still in hand.
Uzbekistan has seven points and Yemen four after three matches each. The last match to be played on Sunday will determine the second team to qualify for the finals. Nepal and Bangladesh has already crashed out of the tournament.
On Friday´s match, Yemen took the driving seat in 40th minute through Sadam Hussein but Abdukholiqov Temurkhuja leveled six minutes later, during the first minute of first half stoppage time.