Yousuf Butt: Well kept. Saved several attempts and didn’t hesitate to rush out of his box when necessary. Distribution was very good, and he was often the initiator of an attack. Hopefully this match and tournament will allow him to cement his place as starting keeper for Pakistan,
Faisal Iqbal: Quite well done today. He was solid defensively and was often part of the build up to a successful attack. Good positioning and one two plays. I am not usually a fan of his, but he deserves to keep his place in the starting lineup against Nepal.
Samar Ishaq: Poor performance, but that’s nothing new from the captain. He showed flashes of one on one defensive brilliance, but as part of a defensive unit, he is a liability. There was no need for him to be where he was. He should have stuck with his man and allowed Kamran or Yusuf to handle the overhit cross. One point of improvement in recent years, however, has been his passing. He now looks to keep the ball on the ground, although often misplaces the pass. At best he is a decent option to have on the bench, although better defenders than him can surely be found in the PPL. He should be removed from the starting lineup against Nepal, but I’m sure that won’t happen.
Kamran Khan: Didn’t get time to settle down, but looked somewhat shaky until his substitution. He has done well in the past however, and would make a decent partner at CB for Zesh or Yaqub Butt.
M. Ahmed: Solid. Was a rock defensively and participated well in the attack, albeit not as well as Faisal. I have criticized him previously for playing too much long ball, but no evidence of that today. Should be kept on against Nepal.
Zesh: Defensively was average. Offensively, however, he stabilized the back line and did well in building the attack. Nothing brilliant from him today, but did enough to keep his place against Nepal. Should be used at defensive mid however.
M. Adil: Absolutely brilliant. Defensively solid and was involved in most of Pakistan’s shots on goal. Great attacking down the flank. Great vision and positioning. Only a lunatic would bench him against Nepal.
Adnan Ahmed: Solid offensively. Somewhat lightweight defensively. Did well to get the ball out to the wings and had some nice passes. Tried to get too fancy at times, but overall a solid performance.
Kaleem: Same as Adnan, but a bit better defensively. I would like to see him partnered with Hassan Bashir up front against Nepal, however.
Saddam: Very well played. Good pace, solid defending, good positioning and vision. Should be retained on the wing against Nepal.
Riaz: Impressive performance by the youngster. He is certainly the future star for Pakistan. Got into good positions, worked hard, and took his chances, albeit weakly. Should be used as a super sub, in my opinion.
Hassan Bashir: Excellent game. Great pace and ball control. Good positioning. Finishing needs a bit of improvement, but very unlucky not to get a goal. Somewhat selfish at times when he could have set up Riaz for a clear shot on goal.
M. Mujahid: Did well coming on as a sub. Wouldn’t mind seeing more of him in future matches.
Ahsanullah: Didn’t really get much time, but seemed a sensible player.
Shahzad Anwar: I don’t know if the improvement should be attributed to him, Zavisa, or Shamlan, but I hope it continues. I don’t know why he removed Kamran from the match, but if it wasn’t for injury, then it was a poor move on his part. He should also have subbed Adnan or Kaleem much sooner in the second half, since Yasir Afridi, Zia, or Yaqub might well have provided the spark which was dying down midway through the second half. But overall, fairly well done. Lets see if he will have the guts to bench Samar.
India: Didn’t live up to expectations. Relied on individual players. No real passing and eye catching plays. Desperate defending. Saved by their goalkeeper. Very lucky to win. They certainly won’t be successful in defending their title if they continue like this.
Lineup againt Nepal (assuming Samar is untouchable):
Faisal Samar/Yaqub Kamran/Zesh M. Ahmed
Adil Adnan Zesh/Afridi/Yaqub Saddam