Pakistan salvage win over Macau

Pakistan team before facing Macau

KARACHI: Hassan Bashir and Kaleemullah scored one goal apiece as Pakistan notched a consolation 2-0 win over Macau in their last Group B game of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup Qualifiers at the Dolen Omurzakov Stadium in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on Thursday.

Pakistan, who had drawn Macau 2-2 in the first edition of the event in 2006, were reduced to ten men when their star defender Kamran Khan was sent off for a nasty foul in the 40th minute.

The experienced KRL player will be missing his next game in any AFC event which Pakistan play in future.

However, Pakistan got a penalty in the 44th minute and Denmark-based Hassan Bashir made no mistake in converting it.

At half time, Pakistan were leading 1-0.

After the breather, Pakistan, who were playing with their regular skipper Jaffar Khan for the first time in the competition, kept pressure on the opponents and were able to double their lead through Kaleemullah who made his first international goal for the senior team.

Zavisa Milosavljevic sent in Saddam Hussain for England-based Adnan Ahmad in the 74th minute and replaced Hasan Bashir with Muhammad Mujahid six minutes later before giving chance to Saeed Ahmed by replacing Mohammad Ali in the injury time.

Kaleemullah was declared the best player of the match.

Pakistan had lost their initial two games against former champions Tajikistan and hosts Kyrgyzstan with an identical 1-0 margin.

With the output the Greenshirts ended third in the group with three points and Macau finished at the lowest ebb without any point.

Pakistan will reach Lahore on Saturday evening (tomorrow).

Meanwhile, Kyrgyzstan qualified for the next year’s finals when they stunned Tajikistan 1-0 in their last decisive group encounter at the same venue.

David Bruce Tetteh scored the winner in the 41st minute, which earned him the player of the match award.

The result ousted hot favourites Tajikistan who ended with six points and plus 3 goal-average and helped Bangladesh to qualify for the finals as they had ended second in their respective group with six points and plus 5 goal-average.

However, India, who had finished also as group runners-up with six points and plus 4 goal-average will have to wait for the completion of the Group E slots which will begin in Manila from Friday (today). Turkmenistan, Cambodia, Brunei Darussalam and Philippines are featuring in the group, with Brunei withdrawing at the last minute forcing AFC to award a 3-0 forfeit to each of the remaining sides in Group E.

Palestine, Myanmar and Afghanistan have already qualified for the final round which will be hosted by the Maldives next year. Maldives have been given direct entry into the tournament as hosts.

by Alam Zeb Safi [The News]

Group B

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
 Kyrgyzstan 3 3 0 0 3 0 +3 9
 Tajikistan 3 2 0 1 4 1 +3 6
 Pakistan 3 1 0 2 2 2 0 3
 Macau 3 0 0 3 0 6 −6 0

More information on AFC Challenge Cup 2014 qualifiers here