Nepal thrashes Afghanistan, meets Sri Lanka in semi
KATHMANDU, Sept 12: Nepal thrashed Afghanistan 7-1 on Wednesday in the last group stage match of the Second SAFF Women´s Championship to top the group B of the regional football tournament. Nepal will take on Sri Lanka, the runner-up of the group A and the host on Friday.
Nepali coach Kishor KC termed the win against Afghanistan as the best one in the ongoing tournament. Though Nepal had registered an 8-0 victory over Pakistan and a 5-0 win over Maldives in the first two matches of the tournament, KC was critical about lack of coordination between the midfield and forward. However, coach KC was happy after Wednesday´s performance.
Midfielders Niru Thapa, Sajana Rana and forward Anu Lama scored two goals each while captain Jamuna Gurung added another from the penalty spot.
Afghanistan created a single chance during the entire match and Marjan succeeded to convert it into the score.
Thapa provided an early lead to Nepal in the fifth minute. She collected a corner pass from Deepa Adhikari and blasted it into the net from 15 yards.
Afghan goalkeeper Nadia pulled down Anu Lama in the 19th minute in the danger area. Nepali skipper Gurung utilized the penalty kick and doubled the score.
However, Nadia denied Gurung from scoring just a minute later. Gurung dribbled past Afghan defenders but failed to dodge Nadia. Likewise, Anu Lama failed in the 26th minute and Nadia made a stubborn save in a one-on-one situation with Gurung.
Afghanistan cut down the lead in the 42nd as Nepali defender failed to mark Marjan. Nepal had another chance to widen the lead in the 44th minute but Nadia made a diving save to a cracker from Anu Lama.
However, Niru Thapa made half-time score 3-1 as she scored in a rebound in the injury time of the first half. Lama´s shot hit the pole and rebounded from the keeper but Thapa utilized it.
Sjana Rana made it 4-1 in the 47th minute as goals flooded in the second half. Anu Lama scored in the 69th minute as Afghan goalkeeper Nadia failed to grip a corner ball from Deepa Adhikari.
Rana stunned Nadia three minutes later with a cracker from 20 yards to make it 6-1. Lama utilized a pass from Rana in the 89th minute to seal the 7-1 victory.
"There was coordination between our forward line and midfield. However, we made mistake in defense. We have to correct it while taking on Sri Lanka in the semifinal," said KC.
KC applauded player-of-the-match Niru Thapa for her brilliant performance. "She is a brilliant player. She caught her rhythm in right time. If she could continue this performance, it will obviously help the team," said KC.
Despite the loss Afghanistan entered the semifinals as runner-up to Nepal after Pakistan stunned the Maldives in the other match of the day.
The Maldives had one point in the tournament and it could have reached last four had they defeated Pakistan by five goals margin. But, Pakistan shocked the Maldives with a brace from Hajra Khan and a goal from Malika Noor.