Pakistan claims its first-ever win in soccer World Cup qualifying, edging Cambodia 1-0

Pakistan’s national soccer team won a World Cup qualifying game for the first time, beating Cambodia 1-0 in Islamabad on Tuesday to advance to the second round in Asia.

After the first leg in Phnom Penh finished 0-0, an angled left-foot half-volley from Harun Hamid was enough to secure victory at Jinnah Sports Stadium in a first home game for Pakistan since 2015.

It was also the first win for Pakistan, ranked 197th, since 2018. It joins Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Jordan in Group G of Asian qualifying, which kicks off next month.

Pakistan was banned by FIFA in April 2021 for 15 months because of “undue third party interference” — its second ban in four years.

Pakistan will be joined in the second stage by nine other teams after two-leg, home-and-away series for the Asian Football Confederation’s 20 lowest-ranked teams.

With no domestic league since 2018, Pakistan’s English coach Stephen Constantine, appointed just 13 days before the first of the qualifying games last week, faced a difficult job.

Ahead of the games against Cambodia, Constantine had promised: “If we get the combination right, watch out.”

The Pakistan Football Federation posted a video on social media of Constantine celebrating with the team after the historic win, with the message: “The floor is all yours, Coach. We’ve made history.”

Singapore beat Guam 3-1 on aggregate after winning 1-0 on Tuesday, and Afghanistan also beat Mongolia 1-0 to advance 2-0 overall.

Yemen was held 1-1 at Sri Lanka, Asia’s lowest-ranked team at No. 202, but had done enough in its home leg to advance 4-1 on aggregate.

The other teams to advance to the 36-nation second round are Bangladesh, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Nepal, Indonesia and Myanmar.

Myanmar will open the next stage against Japan, which beat Tunisia 2-0 in a friendly at Kobe, a sixth successive victory, thanks to a goal in each half from Celtic’s Kyogo Furuhashi and Junya Ito.

In another friendly, South Korea routed Vietnam 6-0 at Suwon, just south of Seoul, in coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s third straight win.

Apart from Vo Minh Trong’s own-goal, all the scorers for South Korea were European-based players: Bayern Munich’s Kim Min-jae, Hwang Hee-chan of Wolverhampton, Tottenham’s Son Heung-min, Lee Kang-in of Paris Saint-Germain and Stuttgart’s Jeong Woo-yeong.


AP soccer:

Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up