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Pak Under-22 fall to Saudi Arabia

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KARACHI: Pakistan Under-22 football team were off to a poor start when they were beaten by Saudi Arabia 1-0 in their Group B opener of the 2013 Asian Cup Qualifiers at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh on Saturday.

After a goalless first half, Saudi Arabia, who looked in better mood throughout the encounter, scored the winner through Al Shehri in the 64th minute after he managed a super shot from inside the circle after beating Pakistani keeper Saqib Hanif and three defenders in an excellent way. The gloveman Saqib Hanif, who also plays for KRL, proved his worth by saving around five sure goals to prevent Pakistan from an utter humiliation.

In the dying moments, Saudi Arabia could have added to their tally but Saqib made a diving save.

Earlier, in the first half Pakistan opted for a defensive display with a 4-4-2 formation in order to avert the forceful rallies of a strong Saudi Arabia who looked more superior to Zavisa Milosavljevic’s boys. The hosts, playing in front of almost an empty stadium, according to a spectator, rallied from both wings but every time failed to beat the visitors’ packed defence.

After 16 minutes, Pakistan were close to take the initiative but failed to do so due to a poor shot from striker from just outside the penalty area. Just before breather, Saudi Arabia missed an open net chance.

The Greenshirts will play their next game against Sri Lanka at the Prince Faisal Bin Fahd Stadium on Monday (tomorrow).

In other matches last night, Sri Lanka were scheduled to face Palestine while Syria were to meet Kyrgyzstan. Two teams from six-team group will qualify for the tournament proper.

 Source: http://www.thenews.com.pk/