March 28, 2017 – Nepal suffered a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Philippines in their first match of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 Qualifiers played at the Rizal Stadium in Manila on Tuesday.
A brace from Philip Younghusband and a goal each from Iain Ramsay and Javier Patino gave Philippines a huge advantage over Nepal in the return leg to be played in Kathmandu on November 14 this year. Bishal Rai came off the bench to score a consolation goal for Nepal just before the interval, but the numerical disadvantage Nepal suffered almost for the entire match allowed the Philippines to dictate terms in front of their vociferous home crowd.
Nepal coach Gyotoku Koji started with Kamal Shrestha in the defense instead of skipper Biraj Maharjan. In his absence, Bharat Khawas wore the arm band.
Nepal, who were unbeaten in the last eight matches since early 2016, started out promisingly but a 15th minute blunder from Bikram Lama invited trouble to Nepal. Lama was red carded for handling the ball while trying to clear it away from the goal-line. Though Kiran Chemjong saved the resulting penalty from hit-man Philip Younghusband, another penalty in the 21st minute from the same person for a foul inside the penalty area put the home team on the front foot.
The numerical disadvantage so early in the match put Nepal under tremendous pressure, and it was again Philip Younghusband who made the pressure pay scoring in the 22nd minute. So much was the dominance that the home team had developed a 3-0 lead in the 28th minute itself through Iain Ramsay.
Koji sent it Bishal Rai for a dormant looking Anjan Bista in the half hour’s mark, and Rai made his presence felt immediately by meeting Rabin Shrestha’s cross and beating the keeper from point blank.
The home team’s dominance continued in the second half as well, but this time it was with occasional threats from the Nepali side. Ananta Tamang saw his header sail inches above the target and a goal mouth melee towards the final whistle had almost given Nepal a breather. All these little joys for Nepal had come after Philippines had developed an unassailable 4-1 lead through Javier Patino in the 72nd minute.