By Alam Zeb Safi, The News
KARACHI: K-Electric defeated Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) 2-0 to rise to the second spot of the Pakistan Premier Football League at Lahore on Friday.
In the other show, holders Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) broke the winning streak of former champions WAPDA by beating them 2-0.
At Faisal Town Ground, Lahore, Mohammad Riaz and Mohammad Rasool struck in the 20th and 36th minutes to enable K-Electric to notch their seventh victory that took them to the second spot with 23 points, six behind leaders Army (29 points).
“It was a much needed win,” K-Electric’s assistant coach Akbar Ali told ‘The News’ after their team’s fine victory. “We had not fielded injured Oludeyi but in his absence captain Mohammad Essa and Mohammad Riaz did a fine job,” Akbar said.
“We were direly in need of a win and thanks God the boys put in their best,” said Akbar, who will take a License B course beginning in Lahore in a few days.
K-Electric’s international midfielder Mohammad Riaz was adjudged man-of-the-match for playing a key role in the win.
K-Electric’s Jalil Ahmed, Umar Farooq, Riaz and Abdur Rehman were shown yellow cards.
This was the last match for K-Electric in their Punjab round. They will return to Karachi on Saturday (today). They will resume their season on December 15.
The management sent seven boys of Chaman, Quetta and Peshawar to their homes on Friday after the match. They will be recalled a few days before the next phase, in the port city.
The loss left PIA at 20 points after 12 outings.
At Railways Stadium, Lahore, KRL came back strongly after a few bad games to break the undefeated run of former four-time winners WAPDA. The victory took KRL to 17 points after ten outings.
“After I joined the team a week ago, I told the boys if they beat WAPDA it would instill a new life in them,” KRL’s coach Tariq Lutfi said.
“We should have scored four goals but we squandered a few chances,” Lutfi said.
However, he was quick to add that it was a fighting game. “You know, WAPDA are a tough side to beat. They were in fine rhythm and fought hard against us. But luckily we got the win,” said Lutfi, also a former Pakistan coach.
He said that psychological uplift of the players was a must. “It’s very important to keep your players upbeat psychologically,” Lutfi pointed out.
KRL are to play six more matches in Lahore before they come down to Karachi for the next phase.
WAPDA’s coach Qasim Raza was not happy with the refereeing standard. “It’s a top league and I think the refereeing standard should be high,” Qasim said.
He said that their key player Hasnain Abbas got ill during the match that harmed them. “Hasnain is our key player and we had to take him to hospital after he felt a sort of exhaustion on the field,” the coach said. “Now, he is fine,” Qasim said.
The loss left WAPDA at 19 points from ten appearances.
On Saturday (today), former champions Army will face Railways at Railways Stadium.
In the PFF League (B Division), Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) held Habib Bank Limited to a 1-1 draw here at Korangi Baloch Ground in Sharafi Goth.
Hasan put HBL ahead in the 44th minute. GPA levelled the score through Nasim in the 70th minute.
Here at KMC Stadium, PACA beat Karachi United 1-0. At Model Town Football Academy Ground in Lahore,
Higher Education Commission (HEC) edged Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) 1-0 with Ali Raza scoring in the 63rd minute.