KARACHI: Pakistan played out a 0-0 stalemate with Palestine in their second match of the four match bi-lateral series at Karachi’s Peoples Sport Complex.
The game showed a definite improvement from the previous 2-1 defeat at Lahore’s Punjab Stadium. However, Pakistan were wasteful with the chances they created but their defending was enough to hold off a constantly-threatening Palestine side.
The match was witnessed by a crowd of 3500, with supporters coming all the way from Hyderabad despite a transport strike in Karachi. Support for Palestine among the spectators was not only from the Palestinians but also from the locals.
In the first half, Pakistan had the opportunity to score through skipper Jadeed Khan, Rizwan Asif and Mehmood Khan but the chances were wasted and not converted into goals. Ashraf, Iyad and skipper Suleiman failed to convert chances for Palestine.
Pakistan lost Muhammad Tauseef due to injury in the 26th minute and he was replaced by Arif Hussain. Right before the end of the first-half, Pakistan’s Ahsanullah fouled Palestine’s Suleiman, which resulted in an injury for the skipper and a substitution for Palestine.
Pakistan’s goal keeper Umar was tested by Palestine’s Abubelal early in the second half before Pakistan responded on the opposite end of the field with Mehmood Khan flinging a shot over the crossbar. As the game gathered pace and neared the end, Arif Hussain sent a volley just inches wide.
Right after, Pakistan had to scramble to save themselves as Ghazanfar Abbas’ back pass went from in-between Umar’s legs towards the goal, forcing Umar to scramble and make a save.
In the dying minutes of the game, Pakistan’s Alamgir almost scored but goal keeper Shbair made a good save to ensure the game ended in a 0-0 draw.
Pakistan’s coach Tariq Lufti said that the young Pakistan team was very spirited and was constantly improving.
“These are very young players and they are competing against players who have had exposure in Arab and Africa. But they are constantly improving and are doing better with every match.”
Pakistan's team will visit Palestine in May for the remaining two matches of the bi-lateral series.
Muhammad Omar, Manzoor Ahmed, Alamgir Khan, Ahsan Ullah, Faisal Iqbal, Muhammad Tauseef, Muhammad Adil, Mahmood Khan, Saddam Hussain, Jadeed Khan Pathan, Rizwan Asif.
Substitutes: Kalim Ullah, Syed Arif Hussain, Ahmed Akbar Khan, Muhammad Qais, Amir Gul, Obaid Majeed, Ansar Abbas, Ghazanfar Abbas
Mohammed Shbair, Khaled Mahdi , Samer Hijazi, Husam Abu Saleh, Ayman Alhendi, Suleiman Obeid, Ashraf Alfawaghra, Houssam Wadi, Murad Said, Eyad Abugharqud, Mohammed Shatrit.
Substitutes: Abdallah Alsidawi, Saed Abu, Ahmed Harbi Mahajna, Mohammed Al-Masri, Hesham Salhe, Khader Yousef, Atef Abu Bilal, Ismail Amour, Mohammed Jebreen, Jamal Allan.