Mansoor Khan and Sher Ali set Pakistan a date with arch-rivals India as the team made it to the final of the under-16 South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship following a hard-fought 2-0 win against Bangladesh in Kathmandu.
Pakistan, who defeated India and the Maldives earlier in the tournament, continued their impressive run at the Saff Championship and dominated the important battle against Bangladesh from the start. After a goalless first-half, where Pakistan kept on creating chances, the team scored a late goal courtesy Mansoor who scored in the last minute.
The lead was doubled in the dying seconds, this time Ali finding the net after a pass from Zainullah to seal the famous win.
Pakistan coach Sajid Mehmood was delighted on the win and said that hard work and an aggressive strategy led to the win.
“The boys really worked hard for the win,” Mehmood told The Express Tribune from Kathmandu. “We went with an aggressive plan and our strategy kept Bangladesh under constant pressure. We got the chance to score due to our attacking approach and it paid off.”
However, the coach felt that his side needed to improve their scoring abilities.
“We threw away many chances in the semi-final and this is something we can’t afford against India.”
India confirmed their place in the final after overcoming Nepal 4-2 in the other semi-final and will take on Pakistan tomorrow.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2011.