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Kathmandu: Yemen maintained their unbeaten record in the final round of AFC Asian Cup qualifying after holding on for a goalless draw against Nepal in Group F on Tuesday.

AFC Asian Cup Qualifying Results and Tables

Nepal enjoyed the better of the chances at a packed Halchowk Stadium, but found visiting goalkeeper Mohammed Ebrahim Ali Ayash in inspired form as Yemen added to March’s 2-1 win over Tajikistan.

Nepal, meanwhile, picked up their first point of the campaign having earlier lost 4-1 to the Philippines.

Yemen started on the front foot and had a chance after just five minutes as Ahmed Nabil was denied by a superb save from Nepal goalkeeper Kiran Chemjong.

The home side, though, came into the contest as the half progressed and Bharat Khawas’ shot from a tight angle after 14 minutes clipped the top of the Yemen crossbar.

And it was the home side who had two chances to take the lead midway through the opening 45 minutes as Bishal Rai first failed to convert from close range before his free-kick soon after was headed wide by Ananta Tamang.

Nepal’s Sujal Shrestha then went close nine minutes before half-time, with Abdulwasea Al Matari guiding a free-kick for Yemen just wide six minutes before half-time.

Nawayug Shrestha should have opened the scoring for Nepal two minutes before the hour mark, but after a quick counterattack for the home side, the striker was let down by a poor finish.

At the other end, Yemen nearly took full advantage with a break of their own, with Nepal indebted to goalkeeper Kiran for keeping the scores level.

Nepal, though, continued to dominate and Anjan Bista was only denied the opener for the home side four minutes after the hour mark as Yemen goalkeeper Ayash made a superb save.

Ayash again came to Yemen’s rescue four minutes later by denying Bharat, and with the home side continuing to press, Rohit Chand fired just wide with 14 minutes remaining.

And two minutes later, Ayash again kept the scores level with a full-length diving save to turn Rohit’s shot around the post.

Photos: AFC

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