Pakistan were unable to complete a successful comeback against Palestine, as they lost 2-1 in the first of their four football friendlies at Lahore’s Punjab Stadium on Tuesday.
The hosts started brightly with a string of counterattacks but the Palestinians soon took control of the game by creating a number of chances in front of the goal. Their offensive approach paid off in the 23rd minute when Atif Abubilal converted from a free-kick.
The goal set off a string of nervous moves from Pakistan, which culminated with Manzoor fouling a Palestinian player inside the box seven minutes later. The resulting penalty was duly converted by Atif Abubilal, giving the visitors complete control of the match.
Pakistan were able to find their way back into the match thanks to a foul on Faisal Iqbal, which resulted in a penalty for the home side. Muhammad Tauseef scored from the spot to make the score 2-1 in the 38th minute, much to the delight of the 5000-strong crowd at Lahore’s premier football venue.
Rizwan Asif created a number of chances but was unable to convert any as the two sides contested in the second half. Qais Ahmed, who replaced Sydney-based Ahmed Akber Khan, missed a few late chances of scoring an equalizer while Pakistan Under-21 captain Jadeed Khan remained off-colour throughout the match.
Pakistan, coached by Tariq Lutfi, will meet Palestine for the second match of the home leg in Karachi on Friday, March 4 before travelling to the Arab state in May for the away leg.