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Nehru Cup: Syria beat Nepal for first win


New Delhi: In a match that had little bearing to the group table, Syria easily beat Nepal 2-0 Thursday to record their first win in the Nehru Cup football tournament here.

Syria, who had previously lost to India and the Maldives and drawn with Cameroon, dominated the match from start to finish and finished fourth in the tournament two points behind the Maldives. India and Cameroon will fight it out for the title Sunday.

Hani Altayar was the star of the match, opening the scoring in the ninth minute before assisting Ali Ghiloum for the second in the 49th minute.

Nepal have had a forgettable tournament. They looked totally out of sorts and unmotivated, with their performance a total contrast to that in the SAFF Championship.

Their supporters, who have come in all the matches in numbers, are feeling let down by the effort of their team.

Nepal were again listless barely managing to get two passes together. Syrian custodian, Mosab Balhous had very little work to do with his defence holding strong for the entire match.

With the rain staying away, Syria were finally able to show their passing prowess. Mohamed Almedani and Abdul Almjarmesh combined beautifully with the two strikers Altayar and Mardek Mardkian.

Alaa Alshbbli had a chance as early as in the fourth minute but headed the ball just over the net from Mohamed Aalreefai’s corner.

Nepal’s answer was a long ball towards Bharat Khawas, who’s weak toe-poke beat the keeper but failed to reach the net.

Altayar capped off a good build-up around the Nepal box, curling the ball beautifully into to the bottom left corner.

Things slowed down following the goal with Syria holding onto the ball patiently in the midfield.

The first half was marked by an altercation between Rohit Chand of Nepal and Al Shbli of Syria after Al Shbli felt that Chand kicked at him. The referee and players quickly intervened and defused the tension.

The second half enfolded just like the first with Syria scoring early and then concentrating keeping the ball.

Syria’s second was a testament to their passing game. Altayar’s brilliant through ball found Ghiloum in wide-open space and he made no mistake placing the ball into the back of the net with the outside of his boot.

Nepal go back home without a single win and will have a lot to go back to the drawing board. Their only point in the competition has come from a 2-2 draw against the hosts.