In a thrilling opening match of the SAFF U-19 Championship, two-time champion Nepal faced a tough defeat against Pakistan. The match, held at Dasharath Stadium in Tripureshwar, ended with Pakistan emerging victorious with a score of 1-0.
The decisive moment came in the 76th minute when Ali Zafar scored the lone goal of the match, securing Pakistan’s win over Nepal. This victory was particularly impressive as it marked Pakistan’s debut in the U-19 category, and they started the tournament with a flying start by defeating Nepal on their home turf.
During the intense game, both teams had their chances. In the ninth minute, Muhammad Adil’s free kick narrowly missed the top of the post, while in the 11th minute, Samir Tamang’s shot, following Kushal Deuba’s pass, failed to find the mark. In the 27th minute, Shah Jahan’s free kick was saved by Nepal’s goalkeeper and captain, Ziarat Sheikh, who put up a remarkable performance despite the first-half pressure. However, he couldn’t prevent Ali Zafar’s decisive goal in the second half.
Nepal finds itself in Group ‘A,’ alongside Pakistan and Maldives. Their next challenge in the group stage will be against Maldives, scheduled for Monday. In another Group ‘A’ match today, India secured a convincing victory by defeating Bangladesh 3-0.