Pakistan secures semi-final spot in SAFF U19 Championship

Pakistan, who won their first match against hosts Nepal, topped group B with four points in two games

By Web Desk
September 23, 2023
Pakistani (left) and Maldives players fighting it out in their match of the ongoing U19 SAFF Championship in Nepal on September 23, 2023. — X/theanfaofficial

Pakistan have qualified for the semi-finals of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) U19 Championship after their match against the Maldives ended in a draw on Saturday.

In the match played in Nepal, the Men in Green struggled to find the back of the net as the Maldives fiercely repelled continuous Pakistani attacks.

Capitalising on the loopholes in Pakistan's defense, the Maldives secured a decisive lead in the 39th minute of the match courtesy of a brilliant outside-of-the-boot finish. With the second half starting at 1-0 with the Maldives in the lead, Pakistan finally had their moment late in the game with Shah Jahan finding the back of the net and levelling the the score 1-1.

Pakistan, who won their first match against hosts Nepal, topped group B with four points in two games and now will play the tournament's semi-final on September 27.

Earlier, Pakistan shattered a 12-year-long victory drought by bagging a win in an international match as they beat Nepal 1-0 in the opening match of the tournament.

The last time Pakistan's U19 team tasted victory on the international stage was in 2011 when they defeated India's U19 team.

It must be noted that the tournament is being played at the iconic Dashrath Stadium in Kathmandu.

Remember, the 2023 SAFF U-19 Championship is the fifth edition of the SAFF U-19 Championship, an international football competition for men's under-19 national teams organised by the SAFF. It will be held from September 21-30

India are the defending champions, who won their second title in 2022 by defeating Bangladesh in the final.

Pakistan Squad

Goalkeepers: Sahil Gul, Mohsin Khan and Muhammad Abdullah

Defenders: Muhammad Sadam, Muhammad Adeel, Asad Nasir, Ans Amin, Khurshid Alam, Muhammad Raheel, Shayan Ali, Kamil Ahmad Khan, Abid Ali, Hannan Naveed and Najeeb Ullah

Midfielders: Ali Zafar, Muhammad Azan and Awais Khan

Forwards: Shahjahan, Muhammad Hassan, Faisal Ahmad, Abdul Wahab, Muhammad Haroon Zafar and Muhammad Adeel Younas

Team Officials: Shadab Ifthikhar (Head Coach), Mohsan Ul Hussnain (Assistant Coach), Khurram Shahzad (Goal Keeper Coach), Aamna (Media), Muhammad Abdullah and Muhammad Samama (Physio) and Zohair Gondal (Team Manager).