Nepal make disappointing startThe UAE edged Nepal 4-0 in the inaugural match on Thursday to take the top spot in Group H.
Nepal got off to a poor start in the second round of the joint qualification of the 2026 FIFA World Cup and 2027 AFC Asia Cup after they lost to the United Arab Emirates 4-0 in the inaugural match at Al-Maktoum Stadium in Dubai, last night.
Nepal were off to a shaky start as the hosts struck in just the 11th minute of the game. Defender Khalifa Al Hammadi scored for the UAE with an assist from Ali Saleh.
Nepal’s Italian coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese made the first of six changes, subbing in Amrit Shrestha for Laken Limbu. Shrestha, however, earned a yellow card shortly after taking the field, giving the UAE a chance to extend the lead.
Nepal fell further behind after UAE Captain Ali Mabkhout not only converted the penalty but scored again in the 44th minute.
To add to the visitors’ misery, UAE’s Fabio Lima struck only a minute after Mabkhout, giving the hosts a 4-0 lead before the break.
With this, Nepal are at the bottom of Group H, comprising the UAE, Bahrain, and Yemen. Hosts UAE are on top of the table, followed by Bahrain with three points each.
Nepal defeated Laos 2-1 in aggregate in October to progress into the second round.
The nine group winners and group runners-up will qualify for the 2027 AFC Asian Cup and the third round of 2026 World Cup Qualification.