Thursday May 23, 2024

Beaten by Nepal, Pakistan end at rock bottom

By Our Correspondent
June 28, 2023

LAHORE: Pakistan on Tuesday finished their SAFF Championship 2023 journey on a disappointing note when they were also beaten by Nepal 1-0 in Bengaluru. This was the third straight defeat for Pakistan and they finished their Group A journey at the rock bottom without gaining any point. Nepal, who notched their first win thanks to a late goal from Aasish Chowdhury, finished third in the four-team group. Both teams showed their capabilities and created numerous chances.

After a tough first half which ended without any goal, the second half also saw both sides making solid efforts to get onto the scoresheet.

In the 80th minute, Aasish's shot found the back of the net via Laken Limbu's fine assist. After the goal, Pakistan tried their best to equalise but failed to do so. It was a pathetic display by Pakistan in the eight-nation event in which Kuwait and Lebanon are playing as invitees. Pakistan were crushed by India 4-0 and then they faced a defeat with the same margin against Kuwait, which put them out of the event.

Former Pakistan assistant coach Nasir Ismail said that the game lacked quality. "It seems that both teams did not play a high quality game and relied heavily on aerial play," Nasir told 'The News'.

"Nepal created several chances and missed some one-to-one opportunities but eventually scored a goal due to a mistake by a Pakistani midfielder. Denmark-based gloveman Yousuf Butt struggled and appeared misfit in the team," Nasir said.

"Adnan Yaqoob and Hassan Bashir also failed to perform. In the future more weightage should be given to local players," he said. "Comparatively, Nepal performed better with their local players, and other participating teams in the SAFF Championship did not heavily rely on diaspora players," he said.

Nasir said that Pakistan team lacked sting. "There was no sting. Most of the players focussed on individual game," he said. Former Pakistan captain Mohammad Essa said that it was the poorest display from Pakistan. "I think it was the poorest display ever from Pakistan," Essa told 'The News'. "The big issue was that the coach completely failed to handle the team rightly. The players were seen repeating same mistakes again and again," Essa said. "Although Shehzad Anwar is a pro license coach I think he cannot handle the side. It is also counted how a coach behaves in pressure situation. Huge gaps were left between defence and midfield which the opposition took advantage of. I think Shehzad has been exposed as a coach," Essa said.