Farooq’s winner helps NBP pip PIA 1-0

KARACHI: International striker Farooq Shah’s solitary goal guided National Bank to a 1-0 victory over Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in their opening game of the 10th Pakistan Premier Football League here at the KMC Stadium on Monday.

Farooq, who had come as a substitute after 70th minute, beat PIA goal-keeper intelligently before nestling it into the net in the 85th minute.

Earlier, in the first half both sides played an open game with PIA having more possession of the ball. However, in the second half National Bank put some pressure on the opposition before netting the winner in the end to open their account with three crucial points.

“The team played well,” National Bank manager Qamar Ali told ‘The News’ after the match. “We could have won with a decent margin had we not missed quite a few chances.”He said that Farooq Shah, who had come to the squad after getting married a few days ago, did a fine job to score the much-needed goal.

PIA coach Shamim Khan was satisfied with his team’s performance despite loss. “I am satisfied with the way our team played,” Shamim said. “The fitness level of the players was good. The keeper Sultan also played well but you know in the end the goal he conceded was a tricky move from Farooq Shah who beat the gloveman by angling it slowly into the net,” said Shamim, also a former international.

“As the time progresses I hope the team will get better and better,” he said.Former FIFA referee Jehangir Khan supervised the match. This was the first game at the KMC Stadium as the venue had been ignored for the last few seasons due to differences between the administration of the ground and the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF).

National Bank, who have several stars in their side, have recently won National Challenge Cup in Bahawalpur and their performance in the Premier League would be the centre of attraction.Meanwhile, former record four-time champions WAPDA whipped debutants Faisalabad’s Lyallpur FC 3-0 in their opening show at the Railways Stadium in Lahore.

After a goalless first half Syed Hasnain Abbas put WAPDA ahead in the 51st minute. Ten minutes later discarded international striker Arif Mehmood doubled their lead with a fine field effort before international midfielder Zulfiqar Shah hit the third goal in the 68th minute to seal a comfortable victory.

The league is being held only at Karachi and Lahore centres and six teams will be relegated to the PFF League (B Division) this time. Today’s match: KESC v Habib Bank (KPT Stadium, Karachi).

from: The News