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Thursday June 20, 2024

Harun stars in Pakistan win over Cambodia

By Abdul Mohi Shah
October 18, 2023
Harun stars in Pakistan win over Cambodia. x/GhaffarDawnNews
Harun stars in Pakistan win over Cambodia. x/GhaffarDawnNews

ISLAMABAD: Harun Hamid made Pakistan proud as the Greenshirts created history, registering their first ever World Cup Soccer qualifying round win to progress to the next stage following an action packed duel against Cambodia at the Jinnah Stadium here Tuesday.

Harun broke the ice in 68th minute to give Pakistan 1-0 victory following a barren first leg held in Cambodia and 67 minutes of the second leg Tuesday. Harun grabbed the opportunity at the top of the striking circle to dodge the Cambodian goalkeeper at his left side to the jubilation of the almost 13 thousand crowd that turned up to see both teams in action.

“I am thankful to the crowd for the support that kept us in the game throughout. Now we are going to the next round with a hope to do well. We would InshaAllah play even better football in the next round,” Harun said following his fabulous strike that stunned Cambodians.

Pakistan was slow to start, with Cambodians making full use of the early opportunities to unleash some repeated attacks against Pakistan. Sor Rotana and Sieng Chanpolin were two outstanding forwards for the visitors as Pakistan goalkeeper Yousaf Ejaz Butt was seen coming to the rescue on numerous occasions.

Once the game entered into the second half, Pakistan outfit gave a different look. Pakistan forwards Fareedullah, Samad and Harun made good efforts to crack Cambodian defence. Often they were seen piercing through the defenders only to strike straight in the lap of the man under the bar.

Two fabulous opportunities were missed minutes after the lemon break as Fareedullah hit wide and two were easily taken by the Cambodian goalkeeper Soeuy Visal. The visitors also had their chances more due to the better mid-field possession where Pakistan were lacking. It was then left to Harun to get the first goal following almost 158 minutes (including first leg) of no goal. Once he sliced the ball into the net, Cambodians were stunned before unleashing an all-out attack to draw level. Couple of times they came very close to taking the game into the extra time. Ejaz’s timely interception and some unexpected mishits came in the way.

“It is a great day for Pakistan football as for the very first time ever, we have achieved a win in the World Cup qualifying round. Players fought till the last and made every effort to keep the lead intact. The victory here will surely boost the interest for football in the country,” Pakistan team head coach Stephen Constantine said in a post-match media talk.

The Pakistan coach, who is not sure of his future association with the national team, said that he had achieved his first target and that was to help Pakistan win their first ever World Cup qualifying round match.

“I was on a short contract with the PFF NC and now it is up to them to decide my future association with the national team. I am glad that I have achieved my target,” he said. Following the win Pakistan now have been grouped with Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Tajikistan in Pool G for the qualification round. The Group G activities will start in November.

Pakistan only managed to draw three of their previous 32 games they have played so far in an effort to make it to the World Cup, scoring 10 goals against 124 they conceded in the process. For the first now the Greenshirts have scored a goal without any reply.