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Asian Qualifiers - Group B: Nepal defeat Chinese Taipei for crucial three points

Kuwait City: Nepal solidified their place as the fourth best team in Group B, defeating Chinese Taipei 2-0 in their Asian Qualifiers return at Jaber Al-Hamad International Stadium on Thursday.

Anjan Bista opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the blink of an eye before substitute Nawayug Shrestha doubled the lead late on, repeating the result from the two sides’ previous meeting in Taipei on Matchday Two.

Already out of Qatar 2022 contention prior to Thursday’s match, the result keeps Chinese Taipei in last place without a point from six matches, six points adrift of Nepal.

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Eager to improve defensively after leaking 21 goals in their previous three matches in Group B, Chinese Taipei made the worst possible start, with Bista’s penalty kick putting Nepal ahead within three minutes after a careless handling offence by Cheng Hao.

Bista’s strike was his third of this Asian Qualifiers campaign, all against Chinse Taipei, and he threatened to add a fourth when he forced Shih Shih-an into a save with a curling 20-yard effort in the 24th minute as Abdullah Al Mutairi’s side exerted control on the match.

Desperate to avoid another defeat, Chinese Taipei grew into the match and began to create more of their own promising openings, albeit without regularly testing Nepal goalkeeper Kiran Chemjong, and while that momentum continued into the early minutes of the second half, genuine opportunities remained few and far between.

In hot conditions, which meant the players stopped for drinks breaks in each half, it was Chinese Taipei who briefly appeared to be showing the greater endurance, but Nepal retained an attacking threat that was evident when Manish Dangi narrowly missed with 10 minutes remaining.

Chinese Taipei failed to heed that warning, and Nepal made the points safe through Shrestha just a minute later; the substitute timing his run to perfection to poke home a low cross by Suman Aryal.

The win keeps Nepal’s razor thin chances of advancing to the Third Round of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup alive, but it also puts them in a position to potentially complete their best ever World Cup qualifying campaign.

No Nepalese side has ever won three matches on the road to the World Cup, with a win in either of their remaining matches against Jordan or Australia to complete that milestone - with the first of those tests coming on Monday, the same day Chinese Taipei will meet group leaders Australia.

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