Spirited Pakistan edged out by Palestine [The News]

Spirited Pakistan edged out by Palestine [The News]

KARACHI: Pakistan football team went down 1-2 to a strong Palestine in an international friendly match held at the Faisal Al-Husseini Stadium in Al-Ram, Palestine, on Friday.

Having used all the 17 players in the squad, Pakistan went ahead through Denmark-based striker Hassan Bashir in the 16th minute. Saddam fed Danish Superliga winger Adnan Mohammad and Adnan then passed it back to Saddam and he again steered it to Adnan who found Hassan in the area who slotted home with an enviable ease to provide a much-needed lead to the visitors.

But Palestine fought back when Alexis Norambuena struck for them in the 36th minute. At half time the match was evenly poised at 1-1.In the second half, a gruelling fight was witnessed. However, Palestine succeeded in scoring the winner through US-based midfielder Nazmi Albadawi in the 78th minute.

In the dying moments, Pakistan had an opportunity to level the score but Denmark-based striker Mohammad Ali’s header on a fine cross from Mansoor Khan went straight to the keeper.

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“I am happy with the performance of the boys,” Pakistan Football Federation’s (PFF) Director Technical Shehzad Anwar told ‘The News’.

“But you know it’s just the beginning. It takes time to assess the players by providing them exposure before forming a unit which will be used in next year’s international events,” Shehzad said.

He said that Palestine were a good side.“Palestine have been constantly playing matches and will also field in the next year’s AFC Asian Cup in the UAE and playing a tight game against them is a good sign for our team,” Shehzad said.

As many as seven foreign-based players were part of the Pakistan team. Of them, Danish Superliga winger Adnan Mohammad and Canada-based midfielder Naveed Rehman made their international debut.

Pakistan also used their young goalie Ahsanullah in the last 20 minutes and Shehzad said he was not bad.Meanwhile, former Pakistan assistant coach Nasir Ismail said that the authorities will have to frame some regulations for the foreign-based players.

“There are seven foreign-based players in the side. The authorities should frame some regulations which could define the time-frame of those players in the camp. I think they should join the camp 15 days before the team’s assignment. Then it will work as they will be able to train with the local players,” Nasir pointed out.

Pakistan team will reach Karachi on November 18.

Published in The News, 17 November 2018