WAPDA retain top spot with 4-1 win over PEL

Lahore, 2 October : Pakistan WAPDA, on the way to eighth national soccer title, whipped four past PEL’s defence to record 4-1 win at Railway Stadium, Lahore in the 45th match of Pakistan Premier Football League. Three full points enabled the electricitymen to jump back to leadership, overtaking Afghan FC on goals counts. Both the teams managed 16 points each. It was second leg between two Lahore-based teams. The first leg at Model Town Football Academy Ground, Lahore on 16 September ended 2-2.

Pakistan WAPDA who won the National Champions in 1983, 1991, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, were clear cut favorites to win the match against PEL who promoted to Tier I soccer show of Pakistan by winning PFF League 2007 and whose only A-Division domestic experience was 11th in 2008, seventh in 2009.

Arif Mehmood-led WAPDA were far too strong for their opposition and stormed into a 2-0 lead after just 17 minutes as Sialkot-born Zeeshan Javed showed his prowess in front of goal with two well taken goals. In a more end-to-end second half, lively Jacobabad-born players Zulfiqar Ali Shah and Khuda Bakhsh added two more in the final fifteen minutes with excellently placed finishes.

WAPDA hit the back of the net as early as 110th seconds when a well-flighted kick from right wing caused disturbances in PEL area. Zeeshan, the spearhead who will celebrate his 23rd birthday next month, rose above everybody to find the net with flick-on header. Left full Akram Masih created the second for Zeeshan in the 17th minute when his 60-meter drive fell beautifully on Zeesahan legs and he made no mistake in beating advancing keeper Saqib Hanif. PEL pulled one back in the 30th minute when winger Saad Ullah accelerated on Muhammad Bilawal’s pass and fired the ball past keeper Rao Muhammad Yameen, the Khanewal-born keeper who was declared best Keeper of NFCC 2009 at Hyderabad. WAPDA led 2-1 at interval and despite all-out attacks of PEL, their back four Akram Masih, Naveed Akram, Muhammad Asif and Fakhar Hayat showed compactness.

WAPDA put the issue beyond the grasp of PEL when two substitutes inducted their name in Match Commissioner list as goal scorers. Zulfiqar made it 3-1 in the 75th minute when he hoodwinked three markers to do the rst and ageing fiormer SGP front-riunner, Khuda Bakhsh rounded off the tally in the closing seconds after fine work by Arif Hussain.

WAPDA led the table with 16 points having goal counts 23-5 while Afghan, on same points, have goal difference of plus ten. PEL managed seven points in five matches.

Sunday (3 Oct) Fixture : Pakistan Navy v KRL (Municipal Stadium, Saidpur Road, Satellite Town, Rawalpindi 3.30 PM)