Sports Reporter – DAWN
KARACHI, Sept 22: National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) failed to return to top spot in the nascent Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) standings after their unbeaten start to the campaign came to an end following a 1-0 defeat at the hands of fellow bankers Habib Bank Limited (HBL) on Sunday.
NBP, who had seen Wapda and Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) climb above them with victories on Friday, went into the game at the KPT Stadium here looking for their fourth victory in five games.
But Khayal Mohammad’s goal three minutes from half-time condemned the National Challenge Cup winners to their first defeat of the season.
It meant NBP stayed third on ten points, two behind table-toppers Wapda and a point behind second-placed KESC while HBL’s maiden win this season moved them to four points.
Pakistan Army are fourth, a point behind NBP, after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) in the other PPFL match.
ZTBL took a surprise lead in the 15th minute when mayhem inside the Army penalty area led to an own goal being scored at the MTFA Ground in Lahore.
Sadaf Iqbal levelled matters in the 43rd but despite several efforts, the winner proved elusive for Army.
In other matters off the pitch, there was good news for teams in Pakistan’s first division after the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Congress approved a performance-based criterion according to which top teams will be eligible for elevation to the PFF Congress.
The approval came at the PFF Congress and Executive Committee meeting in Lahore on Saturday and the step has been taken to encourage competitiveness in the PPFL and help football in the country attain new heights of technical development.