Jordan exploits Nepal’s defensive problems

Published On: October 17, 2019 12:28 PM NPT By: ABHISHEK SUBEDI

KATHMANDU, Oct 17: Yet another game and old problems repeats in Nepal national football team. 

The fact that Nepal lost 5-0 at the hands of Australia in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers (AFC) was a lesson that it had a lot to do if it was to withstand the attacking superiority of the teams in its group. But, giving away the game with sloppy passing and very few attacking threats saw it get beaten 3-0 by Jordan on Tuesday. 

With the loss, it has been three losses in four away matches. It has conceded the third highest goals in the tournament with 15, only less than Cambodia (20) and Guam (16). 

The result against Jordan was less of a concern, with the focus largely built on how the team would fare against top Asian teams such as Australia and Jordan. 

As head coach Johan Kalin pointed out a while back that Nepal needed to perform to withstand the attacks of Australia and Jordan playing in a good shape. But, the team did not attack at all, looked very inconsistent in defensive duties and gave away the possession very cheaply. 

The first half an hour in Jordan saw the team be very compact in the defense allowing very few close opportunities to the winner, win the ball back in the midfield and thread the ball forward, despite not being accurate in attack. 

But, just as the second half whistle blew, the team no longer had the same desire, the same intensity, or the same defensive shape. Jordan was quick to pounce on its mistakes and threaten the team with constant attacks from left to right. 

Dinesh Rajbanshi gave a silly penalty in the 54th minute after he pulled Yaseen Al-Bakhit inside the penalty box. Feras Shelbaieh made no mistake and hit the ball on the right sending Nepal keeper Kiran Chemjong the wrong way. 

The goal worsened Nepali team’s woes and everything started to fall apart. The shape of the team was terrible with a big gap between the midfield and the forward Bimal Gharti Magar, who like in his previous game was clueless. The defense started to crumble leaving holes between the center backs and the full backs. 

Nepal, in the last 25 minutes, started pushing forward on occasions to get a goal back. But, the attacking tactics saw Jordan take away the ball very comfortably. The forwards looked sluggish and most of the chances they created were either blocked or cleared, or off the target. 

Jordan doubled its lead in the 78th minute through Ahmed Al-Ersan as he lobbed over Chemjong from a tight left side, while Baha’ Faisal finished the game with a third heading in a cross from a short range in the 88th minute. 

The game was more a failure to hold on than lesson as the shape of the team as well as the passing plays were very poor. The team gave the ball too many times, and let Jordan attack constantly. 

Kalin reminded to judge his team on the performances rather than the result. It is necessary to judge how a team has been building toward a certain goal slowly. The team has been short of both and it needs to be looked at sooner rather than later. 

The World Cup qualifying for Nepal has been a nightmare conceding 16 goals in four games already, scoring only two. 

It is currently in the fourth position in Group B with three points from four games.

Australia leads the table with nine points from three games, Jordan and Kuwait, both playing three games each, have seven and four points respectively.  Chinese Taipei, the only opponent Nepal has defeated, has no points thus far. 

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