KARACHI: Junaid Qadir hit a late goal to enable Karachi Port Trust (KPT) to hold Navy to a 3-3 draw in their opening match of the 10th edition of the Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) here at the KPT Stadium on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) blanked Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) 3-0 in Lahore.
Junaid Qadir, who was part of the Pakistan team for the Under-22 Asian Championship Qualifiers in Saudi Arabia last year, struck just moments before the final whistle to save KPT from defeat.
Navy, former National Football Challenge Cup winners, had a good first half. Experienced forward Sajjad Ahmed put the sailors ahead in the 28th minute. Five minutes later Mohammad Amin doubled their lead with a fine field effort. Bilal added to the misery of KPT by scoring the third goal for Navy in the 41st minute.
However, KPT reduced the deficit when Jalil hit one for them at the stroke of half time. Navy had 3-1 edge till breather.
KPT, who terminated the jobs of around a dozen players a few months ago, did a fine job to keep their rivals under pressure. Experienced striker Zafar Majeed further reduced KPT’s deficit in the 68th minute before Junaid hit the equaliser to help his side get one point to open their account.
Hidayatullah supervised the match, while former FIFA referee Jehangir Khan and Younis Lal were the linemen. Asad Mehmood acted as the fourth official.
Meanwhile, PAF were off to a fiery start as they tamed ZTBL at the Model Town Football Academy Ground in Lahore.
Irfan Ali struck twice while Aamir Nawaz hit the third goal. Irfan, regarded as a dangerous striker, opened the scoring with a pile-driver from 20 yards that went into the goal after kissing the keeper. In the 38th minute midfielder Aamir Khan doubled their lead with a nice header. At half time PAF were leading 2-0. In the second half Irfan netted his second in the 60th minute to seal a comfortable victory.
“We missed quite a few sure chances,” PAF coach Mohammad Arshad told ‘The News’ from Lahore. “Irfan converted tough chances but wasted easier ones,” said the coach. He said that two of his strikers, Mansoor Khan and Mohammad Mujahid, were busy with Pakistan teams.
“We are missing our two strikers. When they join us after a few weeks our frontline will be further reinforced,” said Arshad, a former international.
Today’s fixtures: PIA v National Bank (KMC Stadium, Karachi), WAPDA v Faisalabad’s Lyallpur FC (Railways Stadium, Lahore).
from: The News