Taiwan yesterday fell to a 2-0 home defeat to Nepal at the Taipei Municipal Stadium after the visitors’ Anjan Bista netted twice either side of halftime to collect all three points in their FIFA 2022 World Cup Asia Group B qualifier.
Nepal, ranked world No. 166 compared with Taiwan’s 125, went ahead inside three minutes from a free-kick on the right, when Sujal Shreshtha’s cross found Bista inside the penalty area and the midfielder headed the ball past a helpless Pan Wen-chieh in the hosts’ goal.
Going behind to an early goal, Taiwan still had plenty of time to level the match, but Nepal’s midfield and defense stood firm to repeatedly frustrate the hosts.
Chen Hao-wei got forward in the 16th minute and crossed to Wu Chun-ching, who had found space in front of goal, but Wu missed the target.
Captain Chen Po-liang then advanced into the penalty area in 22nd minute and fired a long-range effort, but Nepal goalkeeper Kiran Chemjong pulled off a fine save to deny the hosts an equalizer.
Taiwan had their best chance in 42nd minute when a free-kick from just outside the area found striker Chen Jui-chieh at the far post, but he headed the ball just wide to the frustration of his fellow players and the home fans.
English-Taiwanese teenager Will Donkin looked to have been felled in the penalty area early in the second half, but the referee waved away the hosts’ appeals.
Taiwan then squandered another good chance in the 59th minute when fullback Chen Ting-yang scampered into the area and delivered a cross that evaded all of the hosts’ attackers.
Three minutes later Nepal went two goals ahead when Shreshtha knocked down Ravishankar Pawan’s cross and Bista blasted the loose ball into the net.
Taiwan continued to create opportunities, but Nepal played with more purpose and had enough sharpness on the ball to defuse dangerous situations before launching dangerous counterattacks.
“We had our chances, but could not convert them… Our players have to improve their passing and movement, be quicker on the ball and be more clinical in front of goal,” Taiwan head coach Louis Lancaster said.
“We have to work on this and develop our game, to prepare for the next game against Australia,” he said.
“We controlled the game and our players took their opportunities to score. It was a good performance and I am proud of my boys, as we needed this win,” Nepal head coach Johan Kalin said.