The national team of Nepal completed a crucial 2-0 win over Chinese Taipei in the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers Group B in Kuwait City,Kuwait Thursday.
For the second time in the competition,Nepal got the better of Chinese Taipei.In the first meeting between the two sides Nepal won by an identical score.
With 6 points from two wins, Nepal standings in the group remain unchanged.They are still fourth behind Australia, Jordan and Kuwait.
In a must win match, a new look Nepali squad loaded with young blood delivered the result when it mattered most.The victory has bolstered Nepal’s chances to avoid the playoffs competition for the 2023 Asia Cup.
In an evenly contested game,Nepal displayed good character,played with confidence and kept their composure throughout the 90 minutes of play.
They dominated the proceedings with a combination of effective attacking tactics and sound defense.Besides, they put in a solid concerted effort and made the most of scoring chances.
More importantly, they maintained consistency, momentum and did not allow the opposition to bounce back at any point of the game.
Admittedly, this is a team with talent and the hard work put in by players and coaching staff deserve praise.
No doubt,the result was/is a big relief to Kuwaiti Head Coach Abdullah Al Mutairi who has made a winning start.
Coach Mutairi is fully aware that his team faces a much bigger challenge when they take on formidable Jordan who are technically, tactically and physically superior on Monday.
In the first meeting,Jordan got the better of Nepal 3-0 on their home turf.Going back to the 2014 World Cup Qualifiers,Nepal held Jordan to a 1-1 draw at home and lost 0-9 in the away match.
Over the years, Jordan have grown in stature and become a force to reckon in Asian football.Against Nepal they start as the overwhelming favorite and are expected to cruise to a comfortable victory.
Given the strengths of the opponent and the importance of the game, he will not have the luxury to play an all out attacking style of football.In my opinion, his approach to the game should be cautious with a greater focus on defense.Keep in mind,this is a vital match for Jordan as they are eyeing to finish strong in the group.
Since every goal matters to them, expect Jordan to be fully in an attacking mode.One thing looks certain, they will leave no stones unturned in their search for quick goals.
The game is equally important for Nepal,especially to avoid playoffs for 2023 Asia Cup.With that in mind, Nepal will have to play a much better, improved and sharper game defensively and offensively to keep the game close and competitive.
On the other hand,Nepal must be prepared for the showdown mentally and physically.The win over Chinese Taipei has provided them the much needed momentum and confidence going into the match against Jordan.
Riding on this momentum and performing with more determination, vigor and purpose will be key to the team’s overall performance.
The game has given players yet another big opportunity to dazzle and prove themselves against a top notch team like Jordan.
Tough test awaits defense.The back line of defenders have to be at their very best to deal with the physically strong, pacey and creative Jordanian attack line.
There is absolutely no room for mistakes and sloppy play.They cannot leave gaps and lapses,allowing the opponent to create scoring chances.They must improve their areial game and do a much better job defending set pieces They have to play to their full potential ,rise to the occasion and need to show that they are no pushovers.
No doubt, the offensive line and midfielders equally carry burden of team’s challenge and expectations.It is crucial that they make their presence felt offensively, coupled with firing on all cylinders.
They must have the right mindset and should be focused on what they can achieve.Technically they have to put in a vastly improved performance to stand a chance of achieving something.
The only way to do it is by stepping up, putting in extra effort and being more assertive and efficient in their approach.Also they cannot ill afford to waste goal scoring chances and lack clinical finishing.
-By Sushil Thapa,Fairfax ,VA