Pakistan beat Nepal 2-1 in SAFF Championship opener

Pakistan got off to a winning start in the Suzuki SAFF Championship when they beat Nepal by 2-1 goals in their group B opening match of the tournament held on Tuesday at Bangabandhu National Stadium here.

Hassan Bashir put Pakistan ahead in the 36th minute from a penalty. Jordan referee Hasan Mahmoud awarded spot kick in favor of Pakistan when Biraj Moharjan fouled Muhammad Riaz inside the danger zone. Bashir made no mistake convert the spot kick.

After the resumption, Nepal tried hard to fight back in the match but the Pakistani defenders foiled all the attacks taken by the Nepal.

However Pakistan got a real scoring chance to increase their margin the 75th minute when substitute Saadullah, after taking the ball from midfield, ran down after dodging past a Nepalese defender and took a powerful shot from 35 yards but it returned to play after hitting the crossbar.

Nepal fought back in the match when Bimal Gharti restored the parity in the 82nd minute. He sent the ball home with a left footer placing shot from close range off a cross from his fellow mate following a corner kick from right flank.

Nepal custodian Kiran Kumar brilliantly gripped a powerful shot taken by Pakistani Mohammad Ali in the 88th minute while in the next minute Pakistani custodian Yousuf foiled two attempts of Nepal.

Muhammad Ali sealed the victory for Pakistan with a close header utilizing mistake from Nepalese defender in the 90+5 minute of the match.

Pakistan will play their next group match against Bangladesh while Bhutan will face Nepal on Thursday (September 9).

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)