Nepal fails to execute defensive tactics in seven-goal humiliation

Published On: September 7, 2019 08:33 AM NPT By: ABHISHEK SUBEDI

KATHMANDU, Sept 7: Nepal national football team suffered a disappointing 7-0 hammering from Kuwait, delivering a performance as poor as the score line suggests, in their first match of the second round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers (AFC) at Kuwait City on Thursday. 

At the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium, head coach Johan Kalin’s men were poor from the first whistle and were pragmatic as it let Kuwait attack it over and over again with spaces from the flanks left unattended. The central part where Nepal was supposed to guard the backline was very poor and conceded seven goals in its first away match of Group B. 

Nepal opted for a 4-5-1 defensive performance, but neither the midfield nor the wingers offered the ball to the lone forward Bimal Gharti Magar, who had little to none chances in the game, and was utterly disappointing with his touches and gave away a lot of possession leading to swift counter attacks from the winning team. 

After the match, Kalin said despite the team’s goal was to focus more on the performance than the result, Nepal was unable to bring anything from the game as it could not perform against the home side. 

“It is important to study our weaknesses after the game. We only conceded one goal in our last five matches and our defense was strong as well,” Kalin added. “The game against Kuwait was different. The defense along with all the other players came under immense pressure after conceding two goals in the first 20 minutes of the game. Kuwait is a strong side. They took full advantage of us after we came into pressure. It is crucial to improve our performance in the upcoming matches.” 

Nepal conceded the first goal of the game in just the sixth minute through Yousef Nasser who tapped in the ball after a cross from an unmarked Abdullah Mawi. The goal was an example of how predictable Nepal’s defense was as Kuwait swept the ball from left to right in a couple of seconds before Mawi guided the ball to Nasser to bury in the post. 

The second goal was a defensive mishap Faisal Zaid Al-Harbi put a corner into the far post for center back Fahad Al Hajeri to head in the 13th minute after Nepal keeper Kiran Chemjong was out of his line. Despite the clearance from Nepal center back Devendra Tamang, the goal was given. 

Salman scored the third goal of the game four minutes after the restart heading in a cross from Mawi as he was left unchecked again and given all the time to put a cross inside the box. Mawi then scored the fourth goal in the 59th minute. The fourth goal, however, was all down to the mistake of Chemjong, who came out of his line just like with the second game, and Mawi lobbed him.
Bader Al-Mutawa put the contest beyond all doubt with Kuwait’s fifth goal in the 67th minute as the defense could not handle the ball in its own danger box, and the captain converted the ball easily beating Chemjong. 

The sixth and the final goals were scored by susbtitutes Reda Hani and Hussain Al-Musawi in the fourth and the seventh minutes of the additional time respectively. 

The game showed Nepal has a lot to do before it can establish itself as a good South Asian country, let alone compete in the Asian region. Kuwait totally swept aside Nepal with better passing, better precision, better holding and shooting. 

Despite opting for a defensive formation which asks the wingers to get near the box and cross the ball for the striker to head, while demanding the midfielders to go inside the box and surround the defensive area to latch the balls if it falls in their way. Nepal neither crossed the ball to the forward, nor did the forward Magar try to hold up play. 

The midfielders were largely invested in the defensive duties and could not get out of their areas. Coach Kalin failed largely in these aspects and did not pose a threat in counter attack despite fielding a defensive side.

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