HBL continue unbeaten streak

Alam Zeb Safi [The News]

KARACHI: Habib Bank continued to upset their more illustrious opponents as they beat Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) 2-1 in their match of the Pakistan Premier Football League at the Peoples Sports Complex here on Monday.

With the victory, Habib Bank now joined PIA and Police at the third spot behind leaders KRL and National Bank with nine points from five games. KESC, led by former Pakistan captain Mohammad Essa, failed to impress on the uneven pitch once again.

KESC were reduced to ten men when former FIFA referee Jehangir Khan sent off defender Aurangzeb Junior with a straight red card in the 31st minute. After a goalless 60 minutes; Habib Bank, missing their key players Khayyal Mohammad and Abdul Salam due to suspension, struck twice in the space of four minutes to take the game away from their rivals. Abdullah scored from penalty in the 79th before Bilal Ahmed doubled the bankers’ lead with a super field effort in the 82nd minute. Six minutes later, defender Akber Ali pulled one back for KESC but it was more of a consolation for them.

Habib Bank manager Yousuf Khan was full of praise for his players and termed the victory a great sign for his side.

“It is a huge win for us. All the players played with commitment and according to a game plan. So far, we are undefeated and positive results at home will give us advantage when we will play our away matches,” Yousuf told ‘The News’.

KESC Sports Manager Zeb Khan said that the red card to key defender Aurangzeb hit his side’s chances badly.

“We lost Aurangzeb in the first-half and it became really difficult for us to play with ten men for a long time. The pitch was also bad and my players were unable to play on it. We will request for change of the venue for the coming matches if it is possible,” Zeb said.

At the Sadiq Shaheed Stadium in Quetta, Lahore’s Pak Elektron Limited (PEL) held Chaman’s Afghan FC to a goalless draw to take their points to two from five meetings.

Afghan FC, with the single point, took their tally to eight from four games which includes two wins and two drawn encounters.

In the second-half, Afghan FC striker Fazal Mohammad developed grievous injury in his knee and he was then shifted to a local hospital through a private vehicle because there was no ambulance available which was against the rules of the league.

“There was no ambulance was available and we had to shift our injured player to hospital through a private vehicle,” Afghan FC coordinator Abdul Malik told this correspondent from the hospital.

“My team is fully a fresh side as we lost all our players which played last year as they were hired by WAPDA, KRL and HBL. We have recruited mostly Quetta-based players now and so we also declared the Balochistan capital our home this season. We are also unable to get much financial assistance from the company but still we are trying to run the team,” PEL coach Asghar Anjum said.

Today’s fixtures: Baloch FC v Navy (Sadiq Shaheed Stadium, Quetta), Police v PAF (Sadiq Shaheed Stadium, Quetta), KPT v PMC Athletico (KPT Stadium, Karachi).