KESC reach NFCC 2011 Final, beat PIA on penalties 4-2

Just like the 1st semi-final between KRL and Army, it took another penalty shoot-out to decide winner of the 2nd semi-final of 21st NBP National Football Challenge Cup 2011 between KESC and PIA today (25 April 2011) at Bohranwali Ground, Faisalabad.

The occasion was significantly marred by the earlier death of PFF Media Manager Syed Akber Ali Wahidi in the morning of the game. In his memory, there was a special prayer and applause done by both teams, officials, guests, and spectators before kick-off. The match was also attended by chief guest Syed Naveed Asghar, Senior VP of National Bank of Pakistan.

Bilal Rafique of PIA saves Muhammad Essa of KESC penalty 43rd min (Pic by Abdul Majid)

KESC were missing services of star striker Muhammad Rasool, who suffered injury in group stages that ruled him out for rest of tournament as they failed to score. The match was further compounded by a fine save by PIA goalkeeper Bilal Rafique to stop KESC skipper Muhammad Essa from giving his side the lead with a 43rd minute penalty kick before half-time. The match eventually ended 0-0 after 90 minutes as both sides failed to score from the chances they had, leading to extra time.

After a scoreless 1st half of extra time, the match exploded into late frenzy as PIA skipper #10 Nasrullah Khan gave his side a 1-0 lead in 109th minute that looked like it would be enough to see them through to face former coach Tariq Lutfi and his KRL side in final. But KESC veteran striker and vice-captain #10 Aurangzeb Shahmir equalised in 115th minute as extra time eventually finished all-square at the end, leading to the dreaded penalty shoot-out.


KESC-PIA with chief guest at NFCC 2011 semis (pic by Abdul Majid)

KESC held their nerves as they converted their tries while PIA missed some crucial kicks to win the shoot-out 4-2 in the end.

KESC will now face defending champions KRL in the final on 27 April 2011 at Bohranwali Ground, Faisalabad. PIA will face Army in 3rd place play-off tomorrow on 26 April 2011.