2012 AFC Challenge Cup: Turkmenistan & Palestine qualify for semifinals

The third and final round Group A matches were played at the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup simultaneously in Kathmandu today. While hosts Nepal took on Turkmenistan at the Dashrath Stadium, the Maldives faced Palestine in a do-or-die match to qualify for the semifinals.

Group A

Nepal 0-3 (0-1) Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan made sure that they would top Group A with a 3-0 win against the hosts Nepal in the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup at the Dashrath Stadium, Kathmandu. The game came to life for the first time in the seventh minute when Elman Tagayev slotted the ball past Kiran Kumar after Arslanmyrat Amanov's angled pass easily dissected the loose Nepali defence. Turkmenistan kept the pressure on the Nepali goal, but the scoreline remained only 0-1 at half-time. Nepal were better in the second session, but the Turkmen remained in control and doubled their lead in the 79th minute when Chonkayev slid in near the six yard box but Biraj Maharjan got the last touch for an own goal. A Guvanch Hangeldiyev strike made it 3-0 for Turkmenistan a minute from time. Turkmenistan topped their group due to a better goal difference then Palestine and they now await tomorrow's clash between Tajikistan and the Philippines to find out their semifinal opponents, while Nepal ended a disasterous campaign with a goal and a point.

Maldives 0-2 (0-0) Palestine
Palestine beat the Maldives 2-0 to qualify for the semifinals of the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup at the Halchowk Stadium, Kathmandu. The islanders started the match knowing that a win was needed to see them through and they started like that as Palestine took their time to settle down. After wasting a couple of good chances Palestine finally broke the deadlock in the 59th minute when a lapse of concentration in the Maldives defence allowed Husam Wadi to open the scoring with a powerful header of a Mohammed Mohammed cross. The Maldives tried their best for the equaliser but there was no way through the well-organised Palestine defence and the islanders were caught out against the run of play when Ashraf Al Fawaghra scored with a fine individual effort in injury time as Palestine confirmed their second-place finish behind Turkmenistan and a semifinal match with Group B winners North Korea.

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