KRL blank PIA 4-0 as WAPDA down HBL

KARACHI: Leaders Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) produced their fifth win of the season when they thrashed Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) 4-0 while defending champions WAPDA beat Habib Bank Limited (HBL) 2-0 in matches of the Pakistan Premier Football League held here on Wednesday.

At the Sharafi Goth Football Ground in Korangi Baloch, KRL played in dominating fashion to outclass PIA in the one-sided affair which also helped them stretch their points to 16 from six games. PIA due to the defeat, are now trailing behind with just nine points from five appearances.

International defender and skipper Samar Ishaq opened the scoring for KRL with an excellent field effort in the 16th minute before Hasnain Abbas, a great find for the national team, doubled their lead with a forty-yard shoot in the 50th minute to put pressure on the rivals.

Striker Kaleemullah, who also played in the World Cup qualifiers, hit a fine brace in the space of eight minutes to inflate KRL’s lead to a decisive 4-0. Kaleem scored these goals in the 72nd and 79th minute.

“It was a great win. PIA were a good team but our players outclassed them with terrific display both mentally and technically,” KRL coach Tariq Lutfi told ‘The News’ after the match.

“This round is very important for us and if we win ten matches then I hope that we will capitalise on the advantage when we will play at home in Rawalpindi after Ramadan,” Lutfi, also a former PIA coach, said.

Meanwhile, at the Peoples Sports Complex, holders WAPDA broke their poor run with a 2-0 victory over Habib Bank to take their points to eight from six matches. This was the first loss from Habib Bank, who have nine points from six outings.

WAPDA got onto the score-sheet through a header from Zeeshan Javed in the 16th minute before midfielder Zulfiqar Shah, serving as a captain in place of the injured Arif Mehmood, sealed their fate with a goal in the 82nd minute.

At the Sadiq Shaheed Stadium in Quetta, debutants Muslim FC shocked former champions Army 1-0 with Haji Mohammad landing the lone goal of the game in the 56th minute.

Army, with the defeat, are struggling with four points from six matches while Muslim FC with the triumph, moved to seven points from four meetings.

Today’s fixtures: PEL v PAF (Sadiq Shaheed Stadium, Quetta), Afghan FC v Navy (Sadiq Shaheed Stadium, Quetta), KESC v PMC (Peoples Sports Complex).