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    No joy for Nepal as Turkmenistan top Group A

    Kathmandu: It was a disappointing final game for the Nepal team as well as the home fans who saw their team succumb to a morale-crushing 0-3 thrashing at the hands of Turkmenistan on Monday in the AFC Challenge Cup.

    An already eliminated and dispirited Nepali side succumbed to their third successive defeat as they were soundly beaten by Turkmenistan, much to the disappointment of the home fans. The Nepali supporters who had come to see their team go out with a bang, merely saw a meek surrender.

    Turkmenistan secured the win and topped Group A in the process. The scoring was opened by Elman Tagayev in the 7th minute. The remaining two goals came late on, with Gahryman Chonkayev scoring in the 79th minute and substitute Guvanch Hangeldiyev putting the icing on the cake by scoring in the 89th minute.

    A different-looking Nepali side came out for this match, as Bhola Silwal and Rabin Shresth were both sidelined with injuries, while Raju Tamang and goalie Bikash Malla were not available, having to play with the Nepal military side.

    The match started slowly, with both teams playing a waiting game, testing each other's weaknesses. However, it was only seven minutes into the first half when Turkmenistan opened the scoring as Arslanmyrat Amanov played a superb pass which cut through the Nepali central defence with ease and picked out a free Elman Tagayev, who made no mistake slotting the ball past a hapless goalie.

    However, the goals dried up in the first half after this, with Turkmenistan doing the majority of the attacking while Nepal were camped in their own half. Amanov was the star on show as he effortlessly pulled all the strings. Meanwhile, Kiran Kumar in goal was the only barrier between Nepal and a drubbing as he kept the rampaging Tagayev and company out with a clutch of great saves.

    The first half being totally a one-sided affair, the second half promised something different as Nepal enjoyed far more possession in the opening exchanges at least. However they did not manage to create any real chance of note. Turkmenistan slowly got back to their usual dominating self, as Tagayev's fierce curved shot hit the woodwork in the 59th minute.

    Although the 0-1 scoreline certainly did not reflect on the amount of domination Turkmenistan enjoyed, it finally paid off in the 79th minute when Gahryman Chonkayev slid in to put the ball past a despairing Biraj Mahajan marking him and into the net to give Turkmenistan a two-goal cushion.

    Finally, a minute from the final whistle, Guvanch Hangeldiyev killed the game off in style as his shot found the back of the net, with Kumar this time having no chance.

    The star of the match was certainly Amanov. The 21-year-old clearly displayed his class in midfield, both in creating chances as well as by taking shots himself. By topping the group, Turkmenistan have managed to avoid facing tournament favourites DPR Korea.

    Meanwhile the Gorkhali supporters had nothing to cheer about as Nepal finished the tournament without even getting on the scoresheet.