March 12, 2012

Turkmenistan 3-0 Nepal (+ full match video)

Goals: Elman Tagayev 7', Biraj (own-goal) 79', Guwanch Hangeldiyev 89'

Kathmandu: The curtain came down on Nepal's disappointing 2012 AFC Challenge Cup campaign on Monday when the tournament hosts were comfortably beaten 3-0 by Turkmenistan, as the Central Asians eased into the semi-finals.
An inspired performance from Arslanmyrat Amanov saw Turkmenistan completely dominate the first-half but despite creating a raft of chances they only had Elman Tagayev's seventh minute strike to show for their efforts with Kiran Kumar, who was returning to the starting 11 in place of Ritesh Thapa, denying the Turkmen on numerous occasions.
However, second-half goals from Gahryman Chonkayev and Guvanch Hangeldiyev gave the score line a more realistic reflection of Turkmenistan's dominance.
It was a much-changed Nepal that took to Dashrath Stadium field with midfielder Bhola Silwal and defender Rabin Shresth side-lined with ankle and knee injuries respectively, while midfielder Raju Tamang and reserve goalkeeper Bikash Malla have been drafted into the military side that will compete in the inaugural South Asian Army Games taking place in the Nepali capital.
The match started in a low key tempo until the seventh minute when Elman Tagayev slotted the ball past Kumar after Arslanmyrat Amanov's angled pass easily dissected a loose Nepali back line.
Kumar redeemed himself on the quarter-of-an-hour-mark with a superb reflex save from Gahryman Chonkayev's well-taken volley after the impressive Amanov had picked out the midfielder with a sublime chip over the Nepal defence. The Nepal custodian was again on hand to thwart the Turkmen with the Three Star club keeper's outstretched leg blocking a weak Tagayev shot after Chonkayev had knocked another pinpoint pass from Amanov into his path.
Amanov was the next to be denied after the skilful 21-year old HTTU Ashgabat midfielder waltzed past the Nepal defence only to see his shot blocked by the busy Kumar in the 31st minute before Amanov's cross from the left was headed against the crossbar by Nazar Choliyev eight minutes later.
Amanov's low drive was blocked by Kumar with a minute of the first-half remaining as Nepal remarkably managed to go into the break trailing by just a single goal.
Nepal enjoyed more possession in the opening exchanges of the second-half without creating any real chances while the first clear cut opportunity for Turkmenistan came when Tagayev's angled drive rattled the woodwork in the 59th minute, just before Amanov impressive shift ended when he was replaced by Guvanch Hangeldiyev on the hour mark.
Nepal were making occasional fruitless forays forward but the Turkmen were in complete control and doubled their advantage with 11 minutes left to play when Chonkayev slid in near the six yard box but the sarcastic cheers from the Nepal crowd suggested that Nepal defender Biraj Maharjan may have got the final touch.
However, there was no doubt about the scorer of the third with a well-taken Hangeldiyev strike a minute from time capping the comfortable win.
"We are very happy to have qualified for the semi-finals and I am particularly happy that we did so by topping the group," said head coach Yazguly Hojageldiyev.
"We played we better today because of the condition of the pitch here is better than the other venue and the concentration of the players in the second half was better which was why we managed to score two goals.
"I was happy with the players who started the game that didn't start first two games."

full match video:

all results:
March 8,
Turkmenistan 3-1 Maldives
Palestine 2-0 Nepal

March 10,
Turkmenistan 0-0 Palestine
Nepal 0-1 Maldives

March 12,
Turkmenistan 3-0 Nepal
Maldives 0-2 Palestine

Group Table:
1. Turkmenistan 7 points 
2. Palestine 7 points
3. Maldives 3 points
4. Nepal 0 points

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