By Alam Zeb Safi [The News]
KARACHI: Pakistan were sent packing as they went 0-2 down against Oman in their final Group F match of the football event of the 16th Asian Games held at the Guangdong People’s Stadium in China on Thursday.
Pakistan got the first sniff at goal in the second minute but Quetta-born striker Kaleemullah failed to find the net. Eight minutes later, Oman took the lead through Al Gheilani’s 35-yard pile-driver. In an open game, Pakistan attacked but were unable to get on the score-sheet.
After the breather, Pakistan’s striker Rizwan Asif had two goal-scoring oppurtunities but he failed to capitalise. In the 65th minute, Waleed Abdallah scored the Gulf state’s second goal and they were able to maintain that lead till full-time.
With the result, Pakistan ended fourth in the group with one point which they earned after holding Maldives to a goalless draw the other day. Pakistan had suffered a 0-6 drubbing at the hands of Thailand in their opener.
Oman topped the group with seven points, followed by Thailand with five, Maldives with two and Pakistan with a single point.
In spite of the defeat, Pakistan’s coaching consultant Graham Roberts and head coach Akhtar Mohiuddin said that there were some positives to be taken.
“It was a great experience for our boys and they played exceptionally well throughout the competition. Oman was a good team and we played well against them,” Roberts told ‘The News’ from the People’s stadium.
“We were a bit unlucky against Maldives as not only we missed a penalty but also lost few other chances as our boys had 18 attempts on goal in that match,” the former English footballer said. “Pakistan should be proud of these boys for their valiant effort in China. They should be kept together and given extensive foreign tours and I am confident that the team would transform into a competitive pool.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s head coach Akhtar Mohiuddin also expressed his satisfaction over the way Pakistan performed in Guangzhou.
“Barring the opening match against Thailand in which our players made some fatal mistakes, we did a great job in the remaining two matches,” Akhtar said.
“Realistically speaking it was tough luck which caused our ouster. Had we defeated Maldives we could have got a chance to move ahead. We not only missed a penalty but also missed numerous chances. Again in the match against Oman we played well,” Chaman-born Akhtar said.
“During breakfast here on Thursday, the Indian coach told me that our team look completely different and it would be a great threat for India in the coming SAFF Championship,” he added.