Nepal’s national football team encountered a challenging start to the second round of the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifier, succumbing to a 4-0 defeat against the formidable United Arab Emirates (UAE). The match, held in Dubai, UAE, showcased the host’s dominance throughout the game.
UAE’s captain, Ali Mabkhout, emerged as a key player, contributing two goals to his team’s commanding victory. The other scorers for UAE were Khalifa Al Hammadi and Fabio Lima, each securing one goal. All four goals were netted in the first half, with Hammadi initiating the scoring spree in the 10th minute. Mabkhout extended the lead with a penalty in the 34th minute, and he added another goal just before halftime in the 44th minute. Lima sealed the deal with the fourth goal during extra time in the first half.
Despite facing a relentless offensive from UAE, Nepal’s defensive efforts in the second half prevented any further goals. Anjan Rai, Tshering Lama, and Yogesh Gurung marked their debut in the match against UAE.
Nepal will look to bounce back in the upcoming match against Yemen in the qualifiers, scheduled for November 21 at the Dasharath Stadium. Nepal advanced to the second stage of the qualifiers by defeating Laos in the previous round. The team aims to regroup and showcase their resilience in the remaining matches of the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualification campaign.