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FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: Yemen get the better of Nepal

Published at :November 23, 2023 at 05:29 PM
Modified at :January 14, 2024 at 01:14 AM
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(Courtesy : AFC Media)

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Nepal displayed grit for 72 minutes but two late strikes did the irrepairable damage.

Substitutes Omar Al Dahi and Mohammed Al Dahi were on target as Yemen edged Nepal 2-0 in Group H of the Preliminary Joint Qualification – Round 2 for the FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027 on Tuesday. 

Buoyed by a large crowd at Dashrath Stadium, hosts Nepal produced a solid display to keep Yemen silent for 72 minutes, but two late strikes inflicted a second straight defeat on the home side and gave  Miroslav Soukup’s side their first points of the qualifying campaign. 

Both the sides had fallen to defeats in their opening fixtures of the second round. While Nepal fell to a 4-0 defeat to the United Arab Emirates in Dubai on Thursday, Yemen had suffered a 2-0 loss at the hands of Bahrain in their opener. 

Having conceded all four goals in the first half of that game against the Emiratis, it was only natural that Vincenzo Alberto Annese’s side began their second outing on the defensive in front of a large sea of supporters that had gathered at Nepal’s capital city.

And their backline featuring Persik Kediri’s Rohit Chand and Ananta Tamang as well as captain Kiran Kumar Limbu who guarded the goal put together a much improved showing this time around to keep the game scoreless at the half time break, despite the visiting side creating a string of chances.

Ahmed Maher was one of most impressive players in the Yemen attack in the first half and he was again on the top of the game to give the visitors a bright start to the second half. 

Captain Limbu had to make a diving save to keep out a strike from distance in the 50th minute as Yemen kept probing for a breakthrough. However, the home side had their best chance yet at the hour mark.

Hisub Thapaliya, who came on as a substitute a few minutes earlier, was played through on goal and was only denied by a brilliant save from Yemen goalkeeper Abdullah Al Sadi before they went close again a couple of minutes later from a free kick after Thapaliya was fouled on the edge of the box. 

But it was another substitute who broke the deadlock as 23-year-old Omar Al Dahi, who was introduced at the half-time interval, planted a left-foot strike from the edge of the box in the top corner to give Soukup’s Yemen a 1-0 lead in the 72nd minute.

Yemen then sealed the 2-0 victory through Mohammed Al Dahi in the 90th minute – five minutes after the 27-year-old was introduced from the bench. 

Nepal will next host Bahrain in Kathmandu when the qualification campaign resumes next year with the third matchday on March 21 while Yemen will be on the road as they take on UAE in their next Group H fixture on the same day.

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