PPWD & WAPDA win, Army knock-out PAF from NFCC

KARACHI: Pak PWD came from behind to defeat Railways 2-1 to set quarter-finals date with WAPDA who topped their group after inflicting a 3-0 defeat on Navy in matches of the National Football Challenge Cup here at different venues on Friday, 16 March 2012.

Meanwhile, Army threw PAF out of the tournament when they held them to a 1-1 draw to end as Group D leaders with seven points. They will face Group A runners-up Navy in the quarter-finals to be held on Sunday (tomorrow).

In a vital game of the Group D at the People’s Sports Complex, Pak PWD needed a win to qualify for the knock-out stage and they did the same by beating cash-starved Railways in front of a thin crowd.

Railways broke the deadlock in the 54th minute through Muhammad Amin. Pak PWD brought an equaliser through Muhammad Jan in the 78th minute before Aaqil scored the winner for them in the 86th minute. Railways failed to win any game in the 15-team competition.

At the KPT Stadium, WAPDA whipped Navy convincingly to top Group A with six points. In the first half, Navy created two excellent goal-scoring opportunities, but Farhan and Asif Bakhsh failed to convert them. After the breather, WAPDA, led by international striker Arif Mehmood, scored three goals. Midfielder Muhammad Ahmad put WAPDA ahead in the 56th minute before defender Akram Masih doubled their lead in the 73rd minute.

In the injury time, Ahmad landed his second goal with enviable ease to take his personal goal tally in the tournament to three. “We rested our top players like Zulfiqar Ali Shah and changed Arif Mehmood to provide chance to the youngsters, but still the result is encouraging,” WAPDA’s assistant coach Tanveer Ahmad told ‘The News’.

Meanwhile, Navy coach Khalid Zubair lamented his team’s poor finishing. “You know, we got a few chances, but failed to capitalise,” he said.

Earlier, at the same venue, Army held PAF to a draw. Army went ahead in the 13th minute through Rashid. Bearded striker Muhammad Irfan brought an equaliser in the injury time as a result of a collision with goalkeeper Jaffar Khan during which the inner part of the gloveman’s lower lip was hurt. He was taken to Al-Shifa hospital for treatment.

Meanwhile, the PFF disciplinary committee suspended six players of Police for six matches each and fined them for Rs20,000 each for violating the discipline during their Group C game against KRL on Thursday which had forced the match commissioner to abandon the show. As a result, KRL were awarded three points and three goals which helped them qualify for the last-eight stage with six points.

Today’s fixtures: KRL v NBP (KPT Stadium, 2:00pm), Police v National Youth A (People’s Stadium, 2:00pm), KESC v KPT (KPT Stadium, 4:15pm), Pakistan Steel v GPA (People’s Sports Complex, 4:15pm).


Alam Zeb Safi
Saturday, March 17, 2012 [The News]