Pakistan began their South Asian Football Federation (Saff) championship campaign, now known as the Saff Suzuki Cup, with a 2-1 victory against Nepal at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka on Tuesday.
The team is placed in Group A with hosts Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan, while ranking-wise Pakistan is the lowest in the region.
Asian Games football: Pakistan bag first victory after 44 years
However, they took on Nepal and led 1-0 at the interval courtesy Hassan Bashir, who scored from a penalty-kick.Nepal returned a fiercer side in the second half, equalising the score in the 82nd minute with a goal through Bimal Gharti Magar, but Mohammad Ali snatched away that one point from Nepal, leaving them with a heart-break as he scored for Pakistan in the last minute of the extra-time.
Before Tuesday’s victory, Pakistan last won their opener in Saff championship in 2005.
PFF announces Pakistan squad for Sept 4 SAFF championship, finally
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s best performance at the Saff championship had been in 1997 when the team finished third, while Pakistan last played in the event in 2013, before the Pakistan Football federation (PFF) fell apart due to its internal politics.
The debacle left the players without action from 2015 till August this year, when the country participated at the Asian Games.