THIMPU (Bhutan): Pakistan’s journey at the SAFF Under-16 Championship came to an agonising end when they fell to a narrow 2-1 loss in the semi-finals at the Changlimithang Stadium on Friday.
Pakistan entered the game having finished top of Group ‘B’ and hopes were high when Abdul Ghani put them ahead in the sixth minute, only for Bangladesh to score twice before the half-hour mark and set up a final against India, who thrashed Maldives 8-0 in the other last-four fixture.
Pakistan, the 2011 winners, had beaten Bhutan and the Maldives in the group stage but were under pressure early on against Bangladesh with Swe Mong Sing Marma’s shot being cleared off the line after just two minutes.
Four minutes later, though, Pakistan took the lead when Ghani latched on to a through-ball and made no mistake with a clinical shot from the edge of the box which went over Bangladesh custodian Nahidul Islam.
Bangladesh, however, levelled matters in the 14th minute when Mohammad Murshed Ali headed home a precise cross from Mohammad Abu Sayed on the right.
Sayed then scored what proved to be the eventual winner in the 29th, the forward driving home from close range after skipper Nazmul Huda Faysal fizzed in a low cross.
Pakistan attempted to get back in the game, putting pressure on the Bangladesh defence, put the equaliser proved elusive for Mohammad Sajjad’s boys.