KARACHI: Mohammad Ishtiaq and Shakir Lashari struck one goal apiece to guide Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to a 2-0 victory over the rejuvenated Habib Bank Limited (HBL) in their opener of the 9th Pakistan Premier Football League here at the People’s Sports Complex on Thursday, 6 Sept 2012.
On the poor pitch, destroyed by the drills of the security forces stationed inside the complex, it was not a fast match with both sides lacking the rhythm required for making the show enchanting.
PIA got onto the scoresheet in the 27th minute through Mohammad Ishtiaq’s well-timed drive from distance that went into the far post with the keeper Sajid Hussain failing to read it.
Habib Bank could have struck on the brink of interval, but their forward failed to time the ball rightly from just outside the area.
At half time, PIA were leading 1-0. After the breather, Ishtiaq, a former Habib Bank player, could have doubled PIA’s lead but failed to rightly connect a through pass.
It was Shakir Lahsari, who inflated PIA’s lead with a well-judged header in the 72nd minute.
After a few minutes, PIA’s Nasrullah had a pile-driver from distance that missed the cross bar.
A moment later, Habib Bank came close to reduce the deficit, but they were unfortunate when Mubashir’s upward shot in the goalmouth deflected off the bar.
Only a single card was shown in the entire match when PIA’s Riaz Ahmad was booked for charging HBL’s keeper Sajid Hussain in the 82nd minute. “We won the game but I will tell you that the team did not play well,” PIA coach Shamim Khan told ‘The News’. “There was a problem in the combination and in stamina as well because the players did a combined practice for only four days,” the coach revealed.
Shamim said that last season his team had finished seventh, but this they would try to wrap up the league among top three or four outfits. Habib Bank manager Yousuf Khan said that most of the players in his side were young and hoped the team would raise their performance in the days to come. “You know, we have inducted nine new players with an average age of 20 years. Only a 10-day combined camp was possible ahead of the league but I hope that the team will improve in coordination as the time progresses,” Yousuf said.
“PIA are a tough team. We got a couple of chances but those could not be converted,” added the HBL official. Shakir Lashari was declared the best player of the match. The PFF has, for this season, offered that the leading scorer and the best player of each match will be given away Rs2500 each.
But no player is being given such a prize on the spot. Lashari told this correspondent that the cash prize should be given to the top players on the spot after every match. “If you give the cash prizes to the top players of the match immediately after the contest then it will really encourage them,” said the international striker, who has remarkably reduced his weight.
National Bank coach Nasir Ismail said that the prize money should be given to only the best player of the match as is the culture in the world football. “Only the best player should be given the cash prizes,” said Nasir.
Different balls are being used in the marathon league, after Vision, a Sialkot-based company, which used to provide balls for the Premier League, severed ties with the PFF. This has created problems for the players.
“I think in each centre the management of the teams should decide that one type of ball would be used as currently the hosts will get advantage by using the ball of their own choice,” a former international player said.
Match Result (Thursday, September 06, 2012)
Match # 6
HBL Vs PIA beat HBL 2:0 @ 1600 PST @ Peoples Football Stadium, Karachi, Pakistan
Scorer PIA: Muhammad Ishtiaq (FW) 1 Goal @ 27 Mnt and Shakir Lashari (FW) 1 Goal @ 72 Mnt.
Scorer HBL: none
Yellow Card PIA: Riaz Ahmed @ 82 Mnt.
Match Commissioner: Ali Nawaz Baloch, Cell # 0300-2146038
Tomorrow 9th PPFL-2012 Fixture :( Friday, September 07, 2012)
Match # 7 Muslim FC Vs Baloch FC @ 1600 PST @ Sadiq Shaheed Football Stadium, Quetta, Pakistan
Match # 8 ZTBL Vs KRL @ 1600 PST @ Jinnah Football Stadium, Islamabad, Pakistan
Match # 9 KESC Vs Navy @ 1600 PST @ Peoples Football Stadium, Karachi, Pakistan
Match # 10 NBP Vs KPT @ 1600 PST @ KPT Football Stadium, Karachi, Pakistan