SAFF Cup: Pakistan Hit Bhutan For Seven But Still Crash Out

Pakistan equalled their biggest ever margin of victory but...

Pakistan defeated Bhutan 7-0 in a Group B match of the ongoing 2009 SAFF Cup at Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka on Tuesday afternoon but still failed to make the last four.

Striker Arif Mehmood scored a hat-trick, captain Muhammad Essa bagged a brace. Reis Ashraf and Shabbir Khan scored the other goals.

But Bangladesh's win over Sri Lanka saw the hosts go to the semi-finals instead.

Pakistan opened the scoring after a wonderful goal in the 21st minute by skipper Muhammad Essa, who headed home Arif Mehmood’s cross.

Pakistan needed to win by a big margin to stand any chance of making it to the semis. They scored another goal just two minutes later this time through Reis Ashraf, who converted a long through pass from Essa. 

Minutes later Pakistan again found the back of the net, this time through striker Arif Mehmood who dribbled past the goalkeeper and finished a fine team move to finally score his first goal of the tournament.  

Bhutan tried staging a comeback by making a few attacks but none of them resulted in any clear cut opportunity.

Taking advantage of Bhutan’s poor defending, Arif Mehmood scored his second goal in the 35th minute.  

Shabbir Khan scored the fifth just before halftime, with a brilliant long range shot. The game was one way traffic from the first whistle and Pakistan went into the halftime break, with the hunger of scoring more in the second.  

Bhutan defence looked more organized in the early stages of the second period and striker Karun Gurung also had a half chance.  

However Pakistan soon scored their sixth when Essa scored his second of the day by converting a very beautiful freekick in the 53th Minute.

The seventh goal came in the 66th Minute when Arif Mehmood completed his hat-trick and equaled Pakistan’s biggest ever margin of win.  

The victory was Pakistan's first of this edition and now they will have to wait and see if Sri Lanka can beat Bangladesh. Bhutan on the other hand, conceded 17 goals in the tournament and will go home with three defeats in as many games.

Goalscorers: Muhammad Essa (Pakistan) 21’, 53’, Reis Ashraf (Pakistan) 23’, Arif Mehmood (Pakistan) 26’, 36’, 66’, Shabbir Khan (Pakistan) 44’

Rahul Sengupta