Kuwait downed Pakistan 4-0 in their second group match to virtually seal a semifinal spot in the SAFF Championships on Saturday. Pakistan were hoping for an improved performance after a shoddy outing against India, but they had no answer to the absolute dominance of Kuwait. This was their second win of the tournament after they beat Nepal 3-1 in their first Group A match.

With their second heavy defeat on the trot, Pakistan was virtually out of the tournament. Kuwait started the goal rush in the 10th minute itself. Hasan Alanezi was in a perfect position to convert a cross from Mobarak Alfaneeni to give Kuwait 1-0 up.

Seven minutes later, Kuwait doubled the lead through Alfaneeni. Ali Matar snatched the ball from a Pakistan player to build a quick counter-attack and found Alfaneeni inside the box with a through pass. Alfaneeni slammed the ball into the top left corner of the net as Kuwait went 2-0 up.

Pakistan did try to organize some counter-attacks after conceding two goals but a sloppy midfield was a big letdown. In fact, the Pakistanis were hardly able to mark the Kuwait players or snatch the ball away from them.

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Play was almost always restricted to Pakistan half, and the industrious Otis Khan tried to make an impact but he lacked any support from the midfield.

Kuwait killed the match as a contest in the injury time of the first half, slotting in the third goal. Alfaneeni, who was lurking near the box, was gifted the ball by a Pakistan defender and all he had to do was to scoop the ball over custodian Yousuf Ijaz Butt.

The second half was a continuation of the previous session as Kuwait lorded over Pakistan without any fuss. They could have made it 4-0 in the 48th minute but the goal was disallowed for off-side.

However, that was a temporary relief for Pakistan as Kuwait made it 4-0 in the 69th minute as Eid Alrashidi found the back of the net after a solo run through the right flank.

The fifth goal did not come despite several attacks but Kuwait would not be bothering much about it.

(With PTI inputs)

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