Pakistani team put up stubborn display to hold Palestine 0-0 in the second Test of Bilateral four test-series at Karachi’s Peoples Sports Complex today. Palestine led the series 1-0 after two matches. The next two matches will be held at Palestine’s Faisal Al-Husseini International Stadium, Al-Ram near Ramallah on 24 and 27 May 2011.
With the transporters strike in Karachi had severely affected the flow of crowd for today’s game, reducing them to only 3500 instead of expected 10,000, Palestine started the game with armband on Sulaiman Obaid, as coach Mouza Bezaz rested their skipper and keeper Abdallah Alisidawi and asked Mohammed Shbair to take position below the bar.
The first half remained barren with Palestine dominating the possession 55-45 and tried to utilize their wingers while Pakistan relied too heavily on breakaways and long range drives. Pakistan suffered a disaster, went to dressing room, losing their midfielder Muhammad Tauseef, scorer in Lahore Test on Tuesday, in the 27th minute, replaced by Quetta-born little WAPDA midfielder Arif Hussain. Palestine came closet to scoring through Ashraf and Iyad in the 12th and 15th minute respectively while skipper Suleiman missed a chance in the 39th minute. Six minutes later, Suleiman suffered severe injury from Ahsan Ullah’s foul and left the field in the injury time, with substitute Ismail Alamour wrapping the captain’s indicator. Pakistan forced chances through Jadeed Khan (17th min), Rizwan Asif (31st min) and Mehmood Khan (34th min) but all went into waste as Palestine Shabair was cool infront of net.
The first real chance of the match came into Atef Abubelal’s foot in the 55th minute but Paki keeper Omar (KESC) was alert with a great save. Nine minutes later, Chaman-born Mehmood Khan (KRL) had a chance but his drive sailed over the cross piece. Sub Muhammad Jabreen, within five minutes of this arrival, tested Omar with a curler but ball went wide. The 85th miunte saw Arif Hussain tested Shbair with a spectacular 30 meter drive but it remained fruitful. A minute later, Omar saw Ghazanfar’s back pass tickled through the feet, the goalie rushed and slides to save himself from embarrassment. The third minute of injury time provided Pakistan’s Alamgir real chance but keeper Shbair did well to block thumping shots twice from Pakistan Police defender as the game ended scoreless
Pakistani coach Tariq Lutfi seemed content and praised his young team after the match.“ My boys were a lot better than before despite departure of Tauseef from the arena. “Despite having a younger squad against the professional Palestine team they were given tough competition. More importantly, the losing margin has been reduced, which is yet another step towards our development.”
Lutfi was impressed by the way the young team stood up to the challenge.“Although we didn’t have the best of games and weren’t able to convert our opportunities into a winning mentality, it wasn’t easy for the opponent to overwhelm us.”
Palestine, who are preparing for the 4th AFC Challenge Cup through the series against Pakistan, expressed reservations at PFF decision to field U21 team. PFF Secretary Col.Ahmed, who watched the match at satadia, understanding the Palestine’s objections, however, extracted positives out of Pakistan’s decision. “Their objection is understandable as they were expecting full distance opponents for their training but it’s a brave decision by PFF. The stance was taken for the development of our football. However, several seniors will join our U21 squad for coming AFC Challenge Cup at KL.”
Following were two teams:
Muhammad Omar- Manzoor Ahmed, Alamgir Khan, Ahsan Ullah,
Faisal Iqbal, Muhammad Tauseef, Muhammad Adil, Mahmood Khan,
Saddam Hussain, Jadeed Khan Pathan CAP, Rizwan Asif.
Sub: Kalim Ullah, Syed Arif Hussain, Ahmed Akbar Khan, Muhammad Qais, Amir Gul, Obaid Majeed, Ansar Abbas, Ghazanfar Abbas
Mohammed Shbair (Shabab Al-Khalil) – Khaled Mahdi (Markaz Shabab Al-Am’ari), Samer Hijazi (Jabal Al-Mokaber), Husam Abu Saleh (Hilal Al-Quds), Ayman Alhendi (Shabab Al-Khalil), Suleiman Obeid CAP (Markaz Shabab Al-Am’ari) Ashraf Alfawaghra (Wadi Al-Neiss), Houssam Wadi ( Jabal Al-Mokaber), Murad Said (Hilal Al-Quds), Eyad Abugharqud (Markaz Shabab Al-Am’ari), Mohammed Shatrit (Shabab Al-Khalil)
Sub: Abdallah Alsidawi CAP (Hilal Al-Quds), Saed Abu Sleem (Markaz Balatah), Ahmed Harbi Mahajna(Markaz Shabab Al-Am’ari) Mohammed Al-Masri (Shabab Al-Thahriyeh), Hesham Salhe (Hilal Al-Quds), Khader Yousef (Wadi Al-Neiss) Atef Abu Bilal (Shabab Al-Thahriyeh), Ismail Amour (Jabal Al- Mokaber), Mohammed Jebreen (Shabab Al-Bireh), Jamal Allan (Hilal Al-Quds).
The four referees for the match were Rana Naseer Ahmed (Referee), Shahid Hussain and Shafaat Habib (ARs) and Rana Jehanzeb Tipu (4th Official).