Monday, May 20, 2024

SAFF Championship 2023: Kuwait register 4-0 win over Pakistan, move closer to semi-finals

Kuwait took a giant step towards reaching the semi-finals when they picked up a comfortable 4-0 win over Pakistan in the Bangabandhu SAFF Championship 2023 Group A match at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, here on Saturday.

While Kuwait now have six points from two matches courtesy victories over Nepal and Pakistan, the team from across the border are at the rock bottom of Group A after losing both the matches against India and Kuwait.

The Middle East side were on the front foot from the beginning and showed the determination to take the lead. Their early push for a breakthrough paid dividends when Hasan Alanezi found the back of the net in the 10th minute. He took his time after following a long cross from the right flank and bundled the ball in.

Kuwait continued to dominate as they kept hold of the ball possession. Eventually, they found another breakthrough before the half-hour mark when Eid Alrashidi found ample space to dribble on the counter. The winger delivered the final pass to Mobarak Alfaneeni, who made no mistake in slotting it home for 2-0.

On the other hand, Pakistan came close in the 38th minute when Harun Hamid delivered a tantalising cross inside the box. However, none of his teammates were in the right place to finish it.

To make matters worse for the rivals, Kuwait made it 3-0 in the additional time of the first half. Ali Khan Niazi’s casual back pass was intercepted in the dangerous area by Alrashidi and he lashed it on target. Pakistan goalkeeper Yousuf Ijaz Butt managed to block his fierce attempt but the rebound was clinically chipped in by Alfaneeni, his second goal of the match.

Despite taking a massive lead, Kuwait showed no signs of taking their foot off the pedal as they continued to dominate. On the other hand, Pakistan lacked quality in attack as they couldn’t penetrate through their opponents’ tight defence. Nevertheless, at the hour mark, the men in green almost pulled one back when substitute Muhammad Waleed Khan stretched for a tap-in. However, his attempt at goal was parried away by Kuwait goalkeeper Bader Bin Saanoun.

Finally, Alrashidi made it 4-0 for Kuwait in the 69th minute. The winger displayed brilliant footwork on the counter and managed to beat the closest Pakistan defender as well as the goalkeeper to find the target.

Kuwait will now face hosts India in their final group stage game, while Pakistan will clash heads against Nepal on Tuesday.

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