Army edge PAF in snail-paced affair

KARACHI: Rehman Ali hit a late goal to guide former champions Army to a 1-0 triumph over Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in their match of the Pakistan Premier Football League at the Railways Stadium in Lahore on Wednesday.

Young Rehman, who is playing his second season, struck in the 86th minute on a cross from the left wing that he got after the ball deflected off a defender.

The first half remained dull with both sides opting for defensive play.

Fire-work was seen in the second half. After 70 minutes, PAF missed three open net chances with Irfan Ali failing twice and Arif Nawaz once.

PAF coach Mohammad Arshad was not happy with the finishing of his team. “When you don’t score, the opponents will score against you,” Arshad said.

“We have a good team but due to engagement of our two strikers, Mansoor Khan and Mujahid, with the national teams we had to use our midfielder Arif Nawaz and there we faced problems. Both Irfan and Arif missed chances,” the coach said.

PAF would be joined by their head coach Shehzad Anwar for the next match against Lyallpur FC if Pakistan senior team failed to qualify for the semi-finals of the SAFF Cup being held in Kathmandu.

“Shehzad will join us soon and we will then try to work jointly for the progress of the team,” said Arshad.

Army were without their skipper Jaffar Khan, who has been nursing a knee injury. He is expected to opt for a surgery, but will take a final decision after consulting physiotherapist Dr Kamrran Mehdi, who is with the team in Nepal.

Jaffar was ruled out of the national team a couple of days before Pakistan’s friendly against Afghanistan in Kabul on August 20 after an MRI showed that his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) was near complete rupture. Surgery of the knee joint is the only option with the experienced gloveman.

PAF had defeated Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) 3-0 in their opener a couple of days back.

Today’s fixtures: KPT v PIA (KPT Stadium, Karachi), WAPDA v ZTBL (Railways Stadium, Lahore).

from The News