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Pakistan beat India, tie football series

June 19, 2005 02:06 IST

Pakistan came up with a memorable performance to defeat India 3-0 in the third and final football match in Lahore on Saturday evening and tie the series 1-all.

Mohammad Essa, who had denied India victory in the series opener in Quetta, struck for the home side as early as the third minute and former captain Tanveer Ahmed put the icing on an excellent first half when he tapped the ball into the net in the 44rd minute.

Pakistan then made a sensational start to the second half when Arif Mahmood scored in the 15th second after the break and though the home team continued to mount the pressure on the Indians in the remaining time, they failed to earn any more goals.

The victory gave Pakistan their third ever win over the traditional rivals in nearly 57 years.

It also helped them share the trophy and cash award of Rs 200,000 besides pocketing the cash incentive of Rs 500,000 that was announced by Pakistan Football Federation president Faisal Saleh Hayat.

The first match at Quetta had ended in a 1-1 draw while India went in front with a 1-0 victory in Peshawar.

Pakistan, ranked 175 and 30 places below the Indians, played more purposeful and combined football.

But, most importantly, they made most of the opportunities that came their way.

Pakistan were on the scoreboard even before the spectators had settled down when Satish Kumar failed to hold a simple cross from Zahid Hameed and dropped the ball in front of an opportunist Essa, who turned around to hit the back of the net with a forceful left kick.

India, taken aback by the early reverse, retaliated and made a couple of dangerous inroads but failed to find the target.

As half-time approached, players from either side appeared a little relaxd, except Tanveer who cleverly flicked a 30-yard free-kick by Ijaz to put Pakistan 2-0 ahead.

Basking in 2-0 lead, Pakistan did not allow the Indians to regroup as Zahid Mahmood ran down the left and provided an unmarked Arif Mahmood an opportunity to go into record books as one of the quickest goal scorers in international soccer.

India twice came close to getting on the scoring sheet but were denied by Pakistan captain Jaffar Khan who made some excellent saves under the bar.

Earlier, Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz came to the venue and shook hands with the players before the start of the match.

Winning and losing apart, the series produced a couple of stars. Sunil Chetri for India and Mohammad Essa for Pakistan were just a couple to name.

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