LAHORE: Following a 4-0 demolition at the hands of holders India in their opener the other day, it was expected that Pakistan would give tough time to Kuwait.
However, it did not happen as the nimble-footed Kuwait whipped the Green-shirts 4-0 in their second showdown to put them out of the SAFF Championship 2023 in Bengaluru on Saturday. This was the second win for Kuwait and they blasted their way into the semi-finals.
Pakistan, on the other hand, tasted their second successive defeat and they now will meet Nepal on June 27 in their final Group A outing to fulfill the formalities.
Meanwhile, in the other show of Group A hosts India downed Nepal 2-0 to also qualify for the semi-finals with two successive victories.
Kuwait, who had entered the game after a 3-1 win over Nepal in their opener, showed great expertise and played tricky game to keep Pakistan unsettled right from the first whistle until the end.
Hasan Alanezi put Kuwait ahead in the tenth minute when he capitalised on a pass from Mobarak Alfaneeni. Seven minutes later Mobarak Alfaneeni got a through pass from Ali Matar and made no mistake and slammed it into the top left corner to double his team’s lead. Just before breather Al Faneeni added to Pakistan’s misery when he completed his double when smartly assisted by Al-Rashidi. Kuwait were leading 3-0 at half time.
Kuwait kept the pressure on the disorganised Pakistan after the interval as well and found it easy to inflict rallies from both wings.
In the 69th minute Eid Al-Rashidi struck a fine goal through solo effort to seal a huge win for Kuwait, who are playing as an invitees in the South Asian region’s major event.
Former Pakistan assistant coach Nasir Ismail said that Pakistan had no organisation against a better side. “The poor defensive organisation gave big gaps to Kuwait and poor display by the midfield cost Pakistan the game,” Nasir told ‘The News’.
“Pakistani players played individual game. The decision to put gloveman Yousuf Butt was wrong and so was playing Hassan Bashir. It would have been more productive had the coach given full time to Waheed,” Nasir said.
“The diaspora players were exposed in this match after a complete rest and full recovery,” Nasir said.
Former Pakistan captain Mohammad Essa was disappointed by the team’s below-par show. “It was a below-par show from Pakistan,” Essa told The News.
“The coach did not follow merit which cost us the game and now we are out of the tournament. It’s not time for more experiments and if we are to develop our football we will have to give chances to the most deserving players,” Essa said.