KRL stretch lead at PPFL summit

Alam Zeb Safi [The News]

KARACHI: Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) cemented their position at the top spot with a glorious 4-0 victory over Karachi Port Trust (KPT) while Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) beat holders WAPDA 2-1 in matches of the Pakistan Premier Football League held here on Sunday.

At the KPT Stadium, KRL outclassed KPT with a terrific display. KRL opened the scoring through experienced international defender Samar Ishaq, who struck on penalty in the 29th minute before Quetta-born Mehmood Khan, who also played in the World Cup qualifiers, doubled their lead after he lobbed the ball from narrow angle over the advancing KPT goalie Ihsanullah in the 64th. A minute later, KPT were reduced to ten men when former FIFA referee Jehangir Khan sent off captain Akhtar Mamol with a straight red card. But three minutes later, the he brought the parity when he also sent off KRL’s Zia-u-Salaam after a second bookable offence.

Sadullah then struck a brace. His goals came in the 72nd and 76th.

“Our main defender Faraz Ahmed could not reach for the match due to fragile security condition in Malir. Not only our defence is weak but our whole system is defective because our top players are hired by other departments as they are not given good salaries,” KPT coach Mohammad Asif lamented.

KRL stretched their points to 22 from eight games while KPT are trailing with nine points from six meetings.

“We are going very well and if we continue to win few more matches then we will enhance our chance to finish at the top,” KRL coach Tariq Lutfi told ‘The News’.

At the People’s Sports Complex, striker Mohammad Rasool gave KESC the lead in the 44th minute when he capitalised on a pass from Aurangzeb. KESC doubled their lead when Rasool landed his second goal in the 70th. A minute later, WAPDA pulled one back through Afzal but could not breach KESC’s defence due to splendid keeping from Jehangir Khan.

KESC have 12 from seven matches while WAPDA have at 11 from eight.

“We could have scored more goals had we not missed out several chances but we are happy with the win,” KESC skipper Mohammad Essa said.

Army pulled off their third triumph when they defeated Pak Elektron Limited (PEL) 2-0 at the Sadiq Shaheed Stadium in Quetta to take their points to ten from eight meetings while PEL are struggling at three points from seven appearances

Mohammad Ikram put Army on front foot with a field goal in the 79th minute before Ansar Abbas doubled their lead in the 83rd. “The boys are slowly catching rhythm. We are desperately waiting for the comeback of our key striker Imran Hussain who had developed groin injury against KESC at Karachi in our first game of the season,” Army captain Jaffar Khan said from Quetta.

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