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SAFF Championship: Pakistan faces Nepal in dead rubber

Pakistan and Nepal will face off in their final match of the 2023 SAFF Championships at the Kanteerava Stadium here on Tuesday.

The game is a dead rubber, with Pakistan and Nepal crashing out of the tournament after failing to grab a single point from their first two matches.

Shahzad Anwar’s Pakistan lost its first two matches against India and Kuwait but can finish the campaign on a high if it manages to get a result against the Gorkhalis. Till now, the Pak Shaheens have failed to score in their two matches.

“Our problem is that we have a lot of new players, and the football of Pakistan is changing. Our players need more experience to win a match. We have to play a lot more matches,” Pakistan assistant coach Torben Witajewski said after his team’s 0-4 loss to Kuwait.

“The quality of the opposition doesn’t matter. You have to play and score goals to win. This is the reality of football,” he added.

Nepal, unlike Pakistan, scored a goal in the tournament in its first match against Kuwait but lost the match, following it with another defeat against India.

It has, however, shown glimpses of the talent it has in its ranks, with players like Anjan Bista and Rohit Chand impressing in patches.

Even against India, Nepal looked like the better side in the first-half. But it could hold on to its intensity and crumbled under pressure once it conceded the first goal.

Overall, it has been a disappointing campaign from Vincenzo Alberto Annese’s side, which has often been wasteful in converting their chances.

“We need to improve. I hope we get the experience of playing abroad. There are quality players that can certainly play in India. I am proud of what we have done. We go out from the tournament with our heads held high,” Annese said after the defeat against India.

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