KARACHI: Substitute striker Muhammad Mujahid’s match-winning goal in the second and final game in Kathmandu on Saturday guided Pakistan to a 2-0 clean sweep against Nepal in a two-match football series.
Pakistan defeated Nepal 1-0 in their second friendly game at the Dasarath Stadium in Rangasala. The Greenshirts had also pipped Nepal 1-0 in their first outing at the same venue on February 6.
Pakistan sent in Mujahid in place of Saeed Ahmed in the 62nd minute and the move paid dividends as he struck due to defence blunder in the 65th minute. This was also the first international goal for Mujahid, who had made his international debut in Singapore last year.
“Our Boys played really well today,” Pakistan coach Zavisa Milosavljevic told ‘The News’ from Kathmandu after a fine victory.
“We had completely dominated the game and had disturbed the rivals through short, ground passes,” said Zavisa.
Zavisa said that the offensive game played by his team was a good sign.
“The team played in offensive way throughout and it’s a good sign for Pakistan football,” said the Serbian, who was under fire after having failed to produce better results during the last one year.
“We had 12 shots on the goal out of which four went off which shows that the frontline did a fine job,” an emotional Zavisa added.
About Nepal he said that Pakistani defenders did not allow them to sneak through, saying, they had just one shot at the goal in the entire match.
After conceding the goal, Nepal utilised all their bullets in the sheath but failed to bring an equalizer. Pakistan’s key defender Kamran Khan had a good second half by making a few smart clearances especially in the 71st and 77th minutes followed by a comfortable save from goalie Jaffar Khan two minutes from time.
Earlier in the first half, both sides started the game in aggressive fashion. Pakistan could have struck in the 17th minute but Yasir Afridi’s pile-driver was punched away by Nepal’s gloveman Kiran Chemjong.
In the 21st minute Pakistan survived a scare when goalkeeper Jaffar Khan punched in on a free-kick but the defenders did a fine job to avert the danger.
Goalkeeper Kiran saved Nepal from a blow when he saved on a splendid drive from Pakistan’s striker Hasan Bashir in the 32nd minute. Soon after, Kiran averted two more nasty rallies from the visitors.
Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) secretary Col Ahmed Yar Lodhi was happy with the match’s outcome.
“You know our team was losing because of lack of exposure. And since we have started giving it exposure the results have started coming. But it’s a very tough job to send the team aboard frequently because it’s always resource-intensive,” Lodhi told this correspondent.
Pakistan will now fly to Maldives on Sunday (today) for a couple of matches to be held there on February 12 and 14 before returning home on February 15.
The tours have been arranged in order to prepare the team for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup Qualifiers which will be held in Kyrgyzstan in March.
Apart from hosts Kyrgyzstan, former champions Tajikistan and Macau are the other teams in Pakistan Group.