Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Lahore: Saad Ullah came off the bench to help Pakistan secure a last gasp 2-1 win against Afghanistan on Friday.
In a rare fixture between the two South Asian nations, Pakistan, minus several first team regulars, went ahead courtesy of Muhammad Riaz’s header after 18 minutes, only for Afghanistan to draw level shortly before the hour mark when striker Amiruddin Anwar found the net.
Pakistan were, however, not to be denied and they duly sealed the win when Hassan Bashir’s pinpoint free-kick was expertly converted by Saad on 88 minutes.
“Despite the big names not coming, the fringe players showed what they are capable of,” Pakistan coach Mohammed Al Shamlan told the Dawn newspaper.
“The victory shows that we have strength in depth. The team played brilliantly. It’s always satisfying for a coach to see the team playing to its potential,” he added.
Pakistan’s victory comes ahead of Tuesday’s draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Preliminary qualifying competition – which will also serve as the qualifiers for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
Al Shamlan’s charges will enter the fray at the Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 1 stage where potential opponents include India, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Cambodia, Chinese Taipei and Timor-Leste.