PAF cruise into Challenge Cup semis [The News]

PAF cruise into Challenge Cup semis [The News]

KARACHI: The 2014 edition champions Pakistan Air Force (PAF) progressed to the semi-finals after beating Army 4-2 on penalties in the third quarter-final of the PFF National Challenge Cup 2018 here at the KPT Sports Complex on Saturday.

After both sides had failed to strike in the scheduled and extra time, PAF showed their supremacy in the penalty shootout, converting all the four attempts. Army, on the hand, missed two of the four penalties they took.

For Army, Nisar Ahmed and goalkeeper Shehbaz Younis missed the targets while Shoaib Nisar and experienced Ansar Abbas struck from the spot.

International striker Mansoor Khan, Mohammad Sohail, Samad Khan and Ghazanfar converted their penalties for PAF.

PAF coach Mohammad Arshad credited his whole team for the outcome.

“It was no doubt a tough game. The clash between forces is always toilsome and today we saw a very interesting game. The credit goes to the whole team which fought bravely,” Arshad told ‘The News’ after a well-deserved victory.

Arshad said that his team missed more chances. “Both teams missed chances in the scheduled time but we squandered more,” said Arshad, also a former international.

After conceding two goals from the spot, Army changed their goalkeeper, bringing in Shehbaz in place of Jaffar Khan but the move also did not work.

Army played in the event with a young lot as only two of their players including Ansar Abbas and Shehbaz were experienced besides Jaffar who had opted to serve under the cage in the 24-team event because his side needed his services.

Ahmed Rauf supervised the match while Mehboob Baloch and Arslan Sharif served as his assistants. Javed Bangash was the fourth official.

PAF will face the winners of the fourth quarter-final which will be held between Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Bahawalpur’s Asia Ghee Mills on Sunday (today). The match will begin at 4pm.

Debutants Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) and four-time Premier League winners WAPDA have already qualified for the semi-finals. Five-time winners Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) also had to face a shock exit a few days ago after losing 0-1 to Civil Aviation Autority (CAA).

The event is being held after a lapse of three years due to a legal tussle between Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) and its rival group. The issue not only prevented national teams from competing in international circuit but the country also failed to hold its Challenge Cup and national league during the same time frame.

Published in The News, 6 May 2018