HBL hold PAF as Police stun WAPDA

Alam Zeb Safi [The News]

KARACHI: A depleted Habib Bank limited (HBL) side earned another crucial point when they held Pakistan Air Force (PAF) to a goalless draw while defending champions WAPDA’s poor form continued as they were stunned by debutants Police by 1-0 in matches of the Pakistan Premier Football League held on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the match between former champions KRL and Chaman’s Afghan FC ended in a goalless stalemate.

At the Peoples Sports Complex here, both HBL and PAF failed to get on the scoresheet despite creating a few goal-scoring opportunities. Habib Bank’s third straight draw following their 1-1 stalemate against Army and a 2-2 tie against Navy took them to three points from three matches. PAF have two from four outings.

“We are short of players. We have recruited three young boys including Lyari-born strikers Mubashir and Atif and midfielder Ghazanfar from PEL but we’re still struggling. I’d advised the players that we needed a few points at the start and we have been able to do so as we have drawn all our three games against the forces,” HBL manager Yousuf Khan told ‘The News’ after the match.

PAF coach Mohammad Arshad termed poor finishing as the sole cause behind his team’s weak effort. “After two defeats in the beginning, the players showed tough fighting spirit when they drew their previous match against KESC. Today we should have won but again our frontline failed to deliver which is disappointing,” South Asian Games gold medalist Arshad said.

At the Sadiq Shaheed Stadium in Quetta, Asad Khan scored the winner in the 55th minute as Police defeated and off-colour WAPDA to take their points to six from two meetings.

“Our four players are on the injury list while two are engaged in the Nepali league but still I am optimistic that we will come out of the bad patch soon,” WAPDA coach Khalid Butt said.

WAPDA have four points from four appearances.

In another game, Afghan FC, led by Jadeed Khan Pathan, held KRL to stretch their points to seven from three matches while KRL took top spot with ten points from four meetings.

Today’s fixtures: PIA v Army (Sharafi Football Ground, Karachi), KESC v Navy (Peoples Football Stadium, Karachi), Police v KRL (Sadiq Shaheed Stadium, Quetta), Muslim FC v WAPDA (Sadiq Shaheed Stadium, Quetta).