Nepal's experiment ends in defeat Nepal-Pakistan int'l friendly
KATHMANDU, Feb 6: National football team coach Jack Stefanowski´s ´experiment´ ended in a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Pakistan on Wednesday during an international friendly that saw six players making their debut for the home team at the Dasharath Stadium in Kathmandu.
Capitalizing on a back-pass from debutant winger Ganesh Khadka, Hassan Bashir scored the all-important goal for the visitors in the first minute of five-minute stoppage time as Pakistan achieved its third victory over Nepal.
Bashir ran the ball in the area after he intercepted the ´pass´ from Khadka and beat custodian Kiran Chemjong in a one-on-one situation as the slow paced ball crossed the goalline following a deflection.
"It was an experimental game and I was evaluating the boys. I am satisfied with their performance," said the Polish coach, who included midfielder Rajendra Rawal in the starting line-up as a new face and fielded five new players as substitutions in the second half.
Defender Bijay Dhimal and forward Amar Dangol made their national team debut as early second-half substitutes while forward Bishal Rai A came in the 63rd minute. Similarly, midfielder Bikram Lama and winger Ganesh Khadka marked their debut in the 68th and 80th minutes respectively. Chetan Ghimire made his comeback in the national squad after three years in replacement of Nirajan Khadka in the 57th minute.
PHOTO: KESHAB THOKER
Commenting on the goal conceded by Nepal, Stefanowski said, "We were unfortunate. We made a mistake and paid for it," said the Polish coach, adding, "The back-pass was a bad idea." Among debutant players, Stefanowski rated Rawal and Dangol as players with great potential.
Among influential players, forwards Jumanu Rai and Anil Gurung and midfielder Bijay Gurung were left out from the team.
Nepal came up in 4-3-3 formation and created a few chances but failed to convert them. "We got a few chances but failed to utilize them. We will focus on improving finishing as we also lack a playmaker. I am looking for a player who can create chances," said Stefanowski, adding that he will come up with a different line-up in the second match to be played on Saturday.
Nepal comparatively played more passes, came up with organized show and dominated ball possession against the South Asian neighbor but it was Pakistan that made the first threatening charge on post. In the eighth minute, scorer Bashir´s low ball shot from close range went inches wide.
Pakistani supporters. (PHOTO: KESHAB THOKER)
Nepal replied in the 14th minute, but off the target as Bhola Silwal fired above the bar from left side of the danger zone in a pass from striker Sahukhala. Pakistan´s 29th minute header from Muhammed Mujahid went straight in custodian Kiran Chemjong´s hands.
In the 32nd minute, winger Jagjeet Shrestha squandered a scoring chance as he failed to connect Bhola Silwal´s pass in an open position. In the 63rd minute, Nepal´s goalie Chemjong dived to deny Kaleem Ullah´s low ball shot.
Amar Dangol´s brilliant header for the home team in the 76th minute in Biraj Maharjan´s cross went inches wide. Similarly, Bishal Rai A squandered a scoring chance for Nepal in the 80th minute as he fired inches above the bar from the area in Jagjeet Shrestha´s cross.
Pakistan coach Zavusa Milosavljevic expressed dissatisfaction at his side´s performance. "I am not satisfied with Pakistan´s performance and Nepal played better. However, result is what counts in football."
Sandip Rai of Nepal throws ball. (PHOTO: KESHAB THOKER)
"There are lots of enthusiastic players in Nepali team but they need to improve finishing."
Nepal and Pakistan are playing two friendly matches as part of their preparations for the qualifying rounds of AFC Challenge Cup. The next match will be held on Saturday.