Lahore, 12 November: WAPDA completed double over holders KRL when they imposed 1-0 at Railway Stadium, Lahore while Young Blood FC, Sahiwal upset Pakistan Army 2-1 at Rai Ali Nawaz Stadium, Fareed Town, Sahiwal. Both the matches of Pakistan Premier Football League were staged on Punjabi soil.
Having looked lacklustre following their 4-0 victory over PEL – KRL had the upper hand but failed to capitalise as WAPDA secured hard-earned victory when Akram Masih’s long clearance found substitute Khuda Bakhsh who calmly beat keeper Shahid Nabi with a low shot in the 86th minute. It was second successive win by WAPDA over KRL as the first leg also saw WAPDA beating KRL 3-1 at Rawalpindi.
KRL manager Ayaz Butt accused his side of complacency and this time, although he said his team were unlucky to lose, he admitted that his players had been below par and revealed he was is becoming increasingly worried by his team’s inability to control a good turf.
Those KRL shortcomings were evident from the outset, as in the early minutes both Mudassar Saeed and Zia Us lam surrendered the ball on the edge of their own area and were relieved to see the subsequent crosses cleared. WAPDA’s touch and passing was awry, and so too was their tackling.
The visitors had zipped the ball about tidily up till then, forcing WAPDA to play on the counterattack. Only occasionally did the hosts come close to penetrating and never through Muhammasd Afzal, on whom many moves foundered because of his uncharacteristically shoddy control.
KRL’s Qasim, having one of the nine hat-tricks, was out of sorts too but inevitably he was involved in the few threats WAPDA did muster. It was his 25-yard free‑kick that took a nick off Naveed Akram before bouncing off the bar in the 13th minute, and moments before he had teed up Zia for a fierce shot from 18 yards that brought a superb one-handed save from Abdul Aziz.
The closing of the second half brought fleeting pressure from both sides as final four minutes produced a goal from Bakhso and two Red Cards – shown by Refereec Rana Naseer Ahmned to No.7 of both sides – Zia Us Salam (KRL) 88 min, Mahmood Ali (WAPDA) 89 min. Leaders WAPDA managed 53 points after 17 matches while KRL have 36 in as many matchers.
Young Blood dominated the second half to beat Army 2-1. In search of stimulus, Army Sarjeel Vicky turned a nice ball to to Pir Mahal-born Muhammad Imran who opened scoring in the 20th minute. Army were 1-0 up at interval.Abid Hussain, who came closest to carving out an equaliser, dashing to the byline in the 72nd minute before crossing to midfielder Khawar Khalid, who aimed his diving header straight at Mehmood Ahmed but still ball went into net.
Asim Mansoor forced the match winner in the 81st minute. He was tripped by keeper Mehmood and he regained his breath and slotted the ball home from penalty-mark.
Friday 12 November Fixture
WAPDA 1 ( Khuda Bakhsh 86)
at Railway Stadium, Lahore
Young Blood FC, Sahiwal 2 (Khawar Khalid 72, Asim Mansoor 82)
Pakistan Army 1( Muhammad Imran 20)
at Rai Ali Nawaz Stadium, Fareed Town, Sahiwal.
Saturday, 13 November 2010 Fixture:
PEL v NAVY (Model Town Football Academy Ground (Lahore 2.30 PM), PMC Athletico FC (FSD) v PAF (PMC Football Ground (Faisalabad), Baloch FC(Nushki) v PIA (Nushki Football Stadium 3 PM), Afghan FC v KPT (Govt High School, Chaman 3 PM)