Nepal lose opening match 2-1 against PhilippinesNepal take the lead in the 10th minute but the Philippines make a dramatic comeback scoring twice in the fading moments in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualification 2022.
Nepal national women's football team squandered an early lead to succumb to a 2-1 defeat against the Philippines in their Group 'F' curtain raiser match of the AFC Women's Asian Cup Qualification 2022 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on Saturday.
Nepal's dream of pulling off an upset victory slipped from their grip after they conceded a dramatic equaliser in the 90th minute and next goal in the second minute of five-minute stoppage time.
Nepal went ahead in the 10th minute with a Bimala Chaudhary header before Tahnai Annis restored parity in the last minute of the regulation time. Camille Wilson ensured victory for Philippines two minutes later with a second goal.
The outcome came as a hammer blow in Nepal's bid to qualify for the finals, as only group toppers in the three-team group are guaranteed a place for the tournament proper, which will take place next year in India. Nepal will vie against Hong Kong, the other team of the group, on Tuesday.
Nepal, playing against the mighty opponents who sit 68 place above Nepal in FIFA rankings, made a bright start and took early lead through Chaudhary. The forward headed Sabita Rana's cross to stun Philippines goalie Inna Palacios.
But Chaudhary had to be replaced by Anita Basnet in the 39th minute after she picked up an injury when she collided with fellow teammate and goalkeeper Anjila Tumbapo Subba.
The Philippines piled up consistent pressure in the second half. Nepal suffered another injury in the 57th minute when defender Puja Rana had to be substituted following a knee injury. She was replaced by debutant Bimala BK.
"Replacing Chaudhary and Rana had a major impact on our performance," said Nepal's Australian coach Gary Phillips. "They were enforced changes and the replacements had difficulty adjusting with the team," he said.
The Philippines' push for goal was rewarded in the 90th minute when Annis turned McDaniels cross to level the scores. Two minutes later, Wilson converted McDaniels pass to make sure they walk away with victory.
Coach Phillips said that the last five minutes' performance cost his side dearly.
"We were really good for 85 minutes but we were sleepy at the last five minutes," said Phillips. "Probably lack of game and international exposure was the difference on the day against professional teams like the Philippines.
"The outcome was disappointing but we battled and showed really good spirit. We worked hard and I am proud of the performance. We take a lot of confidence going into the next game."