Pakistan thrashed Bhutan 3-0 at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Saturday to confirm their place in the semi-finals of 12th SAFF Championship.
Winners against Nepal by 2-1 but beaten by Bangladesh 0-1, Pakistan had to win by three or more goals to book their place in the last four and they did exactly that against a dispirited Bhutanese side.
Mohammad Riaz and Hassan Naweed Bashir struck in the first half before substitute Ahmeed Faheem ensured Pakistan’s second win in the competition with a goal in the dying moment.
Bhutan ended their SAFF campaign with third consecutive defeat which saw them conceding nine goals without scoring one.
Bhutan coach Trevor Morgan was disappointed with such performance of his charges and blamed their inexperience behind it.
‘All the nine goals we conceded have come from bad plays of our part. It was also because of the lack of experience and game knowledge of our players,’ Morgan said after the game.
Pakistan coach Jose Antonio Nogueira praised his charges and claimed that they made it hard for the Bhutanese players in the field from the start of the game.
‘It was a great victory of Pakistan. We pressed from the first minute. Bhutan tried to play but we made it hard for them,’ Antonio said.
Pakistan got their first scoring opportunity in the 10th minute of the game when Hassan tried to
score with a header from a decent cross of Saddam Hussain from the right-wing but it was brilliantly saved by Bhutan goalkeeper Ngawang Jamphel for a corner.
However, Pakistan didn’t have to wait much and drew the first blood in the 20th minute of the game when Riaz converted a headed pass of Saddam with a right footed shot to the top right corner.
Bhutan got a great chance to level the scoreline two minutes later but their star forward Chencho Gyeltshen wasted it as his feeble left-footed shot caused little problem for Pakistani goalkeeper Yousaf Ijaz Butt.
Hassan doubled the scoreline in the 29th minute through a sliding effort from the centre of the box which went past the goalline after Mohammad Ali provided a brilliant through pass.
Pakistan made a series of attacks to get more goals and made the Bhutanese players frustrated with their continuous attacks from both the ends.
Pakistan could finish the first half with one more goal but Riaz hit the crossbar with a left footed shot from outside the box in the 41th minute.
Bhutan made several attempts to comeback in the match in the second half but Pakistani defence was way strong to concede a goal.
In the 82nd minute, substitute forward Kingay Rabgay provided a brilliant cross from the right but Bhutan’s number 10, Kabi Raj Rai’s header from the centre of the box was off target.
Pakistan’s goalie Yousaf acrobatically saved a powerful shot of Chencho in the 87th minute to maintain a clean sheet.
Substitute midfielder Faheem who came to the pitch in the 88th minute, made instant impact scoring during the injury time when he provided a fine finish from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.
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