Pakistan once again edged hosts Nepal with an identical 1-0 score to win the Two-Match International friendly series being played at Dasarath Rangasala Stadium in Kathmandu today.
A cagey 1st half where Nepal’s quick passing game again tested Pakistan’s struggling midfield but failed to beat its sturdy defence finished 0-0. A change of tactics and personnel in second half saw substitute striker Muhammad Mujahid (PAF) scoring from a sublime assist by Hassan Bashir in 65th minute to make it 1-0.
Nepal fought hard for an equaliser but Pakistan had the better of them.
The defensive duo Samar Ishaq and Kamran Khan stood out once again, while Hassan Bashir showed his class to create an easy chance for M Mujahid to score his first international goal from. Goalkeeper captain Jaffar Khan was rarely troubled and was confident in goal facing numerous Nepalese attacks.
However, the midfield of Muhammad Adil, Kaleemullah, Yasir Afridi, and Naveed Ahmed struggled against Nepalese passing, with a lot of clumsy possession and lack of focus most of the times. Muhammad Adil and Kaleemullah did show brief flashes of brilliance, and Saeed Ahmed came close to scoring one.
The result meant Pakistan won the series 2-0 with an identical aggregate score after a 1-0 win on 6 February 2013 with Hassan Bashir scoring. The Greenshirts now travel to Maldives for another 2 match series in preparation of its gruelling AFC Challenge Cup 2014 qualifiers in April this year.
Dawn’s Umaid Wasim adds:
Second-half substitute Mohammad Mujahid was the hero as Pakistan recorded their second successive victory by edging Nepal 1-0 in their friendly match at the Dasharath Stadium in Kathmandu on Saturday.
The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) striker was on the pitch for just three minutes before he pounced on a defensive lapse by Nepal, beating two defenders before slotting the ball past goalkeeper Kiran Chemjong in the 65th.
It was an inspired substitution by coach Zavisa Milosavljevic who was pleased with the result of the two-match series which Pakistan won convincingly after taking the opening match by the same score on Wednesday.
Defeat for Nepal marked a disappointing return for their skipper Suraj Thapa in his 50th international match but they created chances and tested Pakistan shot-stopper Jaffar Khan several times.
Nepal created the first opening of the game in the fifth minute when Bharat Khawas’ cross was headed just over the bar by Anil Gurung.
Yasir Afridi then shot straight at Chemjong in the 17th for Pakistan’s first effort before Hassan Bashir, scorer of Pakistan’s winner in the first game, had another shot saved on the half-hour mark.
A minute into the second-half, Kaleemullah fired one at the keeper and as the deadlock prolonged, the Pakistani coach called upon Mujahid to replace Saeed Ahmed in the 62nd.
The striker wasted no time in scoring, stunning a 12,000-strong crowd at the Nepalese capital.
Nepal came back strongly but Pakistan held firm with Jaffar pulling off a string of spectacular saves to deny the hosts an equaliser.
Pakistan now head to the Maldives where they will play friendlies on February 12 and 14.
Pakistan National team coach Zavisha seemed ear-to-ear after clinching win in second friendly match against Nepal played at Dasrath Stadium on Saturday.
Pakistan clinched the series with two wins and the coach congratulated his boys for a splendid performance showed against host team.
“We created more goal scoring chances”, coach Zavisha said, “I was not happy in the first match but today my boys played their best. Boys fulfilled the assignment given to them”.
Coach Zavisha also mentioned that they were under process to build a strong team for forthcoming AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers.
“We are building up. We need competitive matches and this is the process”, coach Zavisha added, “We will go to Maldives from here where we will play two friendly matches”.
Coach Zavisha also commented on Nepal’s performance.
“Nepal have good players. They have good potential to become good players but they lack experience”.
Match Pics can be viewed at GoalNepal.Com facebook page
Match Highlights http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVaeO3S8SdU