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2012 AFC Challenge Cup: Turkmenistan and Palestine start with wins

The 2012 AFC Challenge Cup was inaugurated by FIFA president Joseph S. Blatter in Kathmandu's Dashrath Stadium today ahead of the second Group A match between hosts Nepal and Palestine, while earlier in the day Turkmenistan took on the Maldives at the ...

The 2012 AFC Challenge Cup was inaugurated by FIFA president Joseph S. Blatter in Kathmandu’s Dashrath Stadium yesterday ahead of the second Group A match between hosts Nepal and Palestine, while earlier in the day Turkmenistan took on the Maldives at the Halchowk Stadium.

Group A

Turkmenistan 3-1 (1-1) Maldives

Turkmenistan had a good start into the AFC Challenge Cup with a 3-1 win against the Maldives at the Halchowk Stadium. The Central Asian side were the better of the two sides, but the Maldives went ahead against the run of a play in the 20th minute when Riley Riwan’s cross into the penalty area was mis-headed by Umidjan Astanov allowing Hasan Adhuham to latch onto the ball and score with his first international goal. Turkmenistan drew level in the 33rd minute through a Ruslan Mingazov strike.

Turkmenistan kept the pressure on the Maldives, who did some great defending; but in the 78th minute substitute Gahryman Chonkayev scored with a brilliantly-struck free-kick, awarded after Imran Fazeel brought down Shohrat Soyunov about 20 yards from the Maldives goal and only three minutes later referee Yousef Al Marzouq red carded Ahmed Tariq and Turkmenistan made the most of their extra-man advantage when Amanov sealed the 3-1 win with a superb solo effort.

Nepal 0-2 (0-1) Palestine

Hosts Nepal couldn’t fulfil the high expectations of the large crowd at the Dashrath Stadium as they went down 0-2 against Palestine. The West Asian side took an early fourth minute lead when Murad Said, shot from the edge of the box but Nepal goalkeeper Kiran Chemjong fumbled and Mohammed Mohammed raced to retrieve it from line before cutting back for Fahed Attal for a simple tap in from close range. Thereafter Nepal had their chances, but the Palestinian goalkeeper Ramzi Saleh had a great game in goal as Nepal where frustrated a numerous times. The Nepalese defence was caught napping when Alla Atya sent Mohammed free inside the area with only Chemjong to beat, which he did with an ease rolling the ball beyond the reach of the keeper to make it 2-0 to Palestine in the 65th minute. Nepal did have their chances close to the end, but it was a bad start for the hosts.

Published with permission from Arunava Chaudhuri.

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