KARACHI, Oct 13: Captain Zesh Rehman scored his first international goal as Pakistan edged past Chinese Taipei in their opening game of the Philippines Peace Cup on Sunday.
The Kitchee defender scored the lone goal of the match in the seventh minute, and Pakistan survived several last ditch efforts from Chinese Taipei late in the second-half at the Panaad Stadium in Balacod City, according to the information made available here.
It also meant a dream start in the dug-out for Pakistan’s Bahraini coach Mohammed Al Shamlan, who was hired before last month’s SAFF Championship and went with the team to Nepal for South Asia’s premier competition as a consultant.Zesh termed the victory as a team effort. “Good win in our opening game of the Peace Cup. Pleased to score my first international goal as captain,” he wrote on Twitter after the match.
Facing a team that stunned a fancied Philippines side 2-1 on Friday, the Pakistan got an early boost when Zesh found space inside the box, and scored with a composed finish to beat Pan Wei-chih in goal.
Pakistan missed a couple of golden chances to extend the lead with Saddam Hussain denied by Pan in the 13th minute and Mohammad Ali also foiled a minute before stoppage time in the second-half.
Chinese Taipei’s best chance fell on Lin Chang-lun in the 32nd minute only for the midfielder to send his effort wide.
Victory meant that a draw against hosts and defending champions Philippines on Tuesday will be enough for Pakistan to win the Peace Cup.
But Pakistan’s win also kept alive Philippines’ hopes of retaining their title. They need to beat Pakistan by two goals. Pakistan and the Philippines have not met yet since the latter rose to fame following their AFF Suzuki Cup campaign in 2010.
“Massive result in our favour. Now I will say the last game to win is all in our hands,” Philippines’ first choice goal-keeper Neil Etheridge, who plays for Zesh’s former club Fulham, tweeted after the game.—Sports Reporter