Pakistan qualify for SAFF U19 Championship semi-finals

Pakistan qualified for the knockout stage after their match against Maldives ended in a draw

By
Sports Desk
Pakistans football team participating in the U19 SAFF Championship tournament being played in Nepal. — X/@theanfaofficial
Pakistan's football team participating in the U19 SAFF Championship tournament being played in Nepal. — X/@theanfaofficial

Pakistan on Saturday, qualified for the semi-finals of the ongoing South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) U19 Championship being held in Nepal.

Taking on the Maldives, the Men in Green were put on the back foot as they struggled to find the net in the first half of the game. Maldives exploiting the loopholes in Pakistan's defense, took a decisive lead in the 39th minute of the match courtesy of a brilliant outside-of-the-boot finish.

With the second half starting with Maldives in the lead with the score 1-0, Pakistan looked to level the score whereas Maldives fiercely repelled the repeated attacks by the Men in Green.

Pakistan finally had their moment late in the game with Shah Jahan finding the back of the net and then celebrating by taking his shirt off.

Pakistan, who won their first match against hosts Nepal, topped group B with four points in two games and now will play the tournament's semi-final on September 27.

Earlier, Pakistan shattered a 12-year-long victory drought by bagging a win in an international match as they beat Nepal 1-0 in the opening match of the tournament.

The last time Pakistan's U19 team tasted victory on the international stage was in 2011 when they defeated India's U19 team.

It must be noted that the tournament is being played at the iconic Dashrath Stadium in Kathmandu.

Remember, the 2023 SAFF U-19 Championship is the fifth edition of the SAFF U-19 Championship, an international football competition for men's under-19 national teams organised by the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF). It will be held from September 21-30

India are the defending champions, who won their second title in 2022 by defeating Bangladesh in the final.

Pakistan Squad

Goalkeepers: Sahil Gul, Mohsin Khan and Muhammad Abdullah

Defenders: Muhammad Sadam, Muhammad Adeel, Asad Nasir, Ans Amin, Khurshid Alam, Muhammad Raheel, Shayan Ali, Kamil Ahmad Khan, Abid Ali, Hannan Naveed and Najeeb Ullah

Midfielders: Ali Zafar, Muhammad Azan and Awais Khan

Forwards: Shahjahan, Muhammad Hassan, Faisal Ahmad, Abdul Wahab, Muhammad Haroon Zafar and Muhammad Adeel Younas

Team Officials: Shadab Ifthikhar (Head Coach), Mohsan Ul Hussnain (Assistant Coach), Khurram Shahzad (Goal Keeper Coach), Aamna (Media), Muhammad Abdullah and Muhammad Samama (Physio) and Zohair Gondal (Team Manager).