Army edge NBP in thriller, K-Electric smash ASML

Army edge NBP in thriller, K-Electric smash ASML

Multan, 11 October 2018: The 12th Pakistan Premier Football League 2018 – Multan leg at the Qilla Kohna Qasim Bagh Stadium finally saw a goal-fest last night on 10 October with its two games. After a string of goalless draws and narrow 1-0 wins, it appeared the scoring charts finally broke loose.

The 8:30 PM game saw a thrilling 90 minutes involving Pakistan Army and National Bank of Pakistan (NBP). End to end football was witnessed by both sides looking for a win. Despite no goals and near misses at either end by half time, the 2nd half proved emphatic.

Winning a freekick in a good position in 49th minute, NBP goalkeeper and former Pakistan U21 Muhammad Umer decided to pull a Rogerio Ceni and decided to have a crack against Army captain and goalkeeper Jaffar Khan. Umer’s effort was saved by Jaffar, but the rebound was quickly pounced on by NBP’s Maqbool who crossed in to the middle and Sher Ali chested it into the net to spark wild scenes on the pitch and NBP bench.

Sher Ali was cautioned for taking off his shirt as NBP players celebrated a likely pre-planned move straight from the training ground with coach Nasir Ismail visibly pumped. Army stepped up their game to find an equaliser with relentless attacks as NBP searched for exploiting any gap on the counter.

Eventually, Army won a corner that Umer charged off his line to clear but missed allowing Army defender Nisar Ahmed to score a thundering header past a crowd of players in 69th minute to make it 1-1. Searching for a winner, Army almost conceded again as NBP’s counter saw Sher Ali clean through on goal only for his weak shot to be saved by Jaffar before another chance seconds later saw NBP get an offside.

However, Umer’s nightmare continued as he failed to clear an Army ball in the box that led to scramble in box with Zil Hasnain’s shot cannoning off the post and being turned in by Soldiers’ vice-captain Anser Abbas to make it 2-1 in 82nd minute. Eventually the game finished that way.

The 10:45 pm encounter saw K-Electric completely dominate Ashraf Sugar Mills from the start as the defending PPFL champions took the lead inside 11 minutes through a Muhammad Rasool penalty after he was clumsily fouled in the box. ASML tried to respond, coming close a few times but KE remained confident at half time.

Then early on in the second half, Murtaza Hussain snatched the ball from ASML defender Adnan and slotted past goalkeeper Arbaz Ali to make it 2-0 after 49 minutes. To Ashraf Sugar Mills credit, they tried to reduce the deficit throughout the game but they remained vulnerable at the back as Muhammad Riaz almost made it 3-0 a few minutes later.

Eventually, Rasool did make it 3-0 in 79th minute when held the ball well and his shot went inside the post. Rasool then became provider when he latched on to a Murtaza Hussain lob then passed back to K-Electric veteran substitute Abdul Rehman who casually curled the ball into the top corner to make it 4-0 at the end of 90 minutes.

The results mean K-Electric now top the table with 8 points from 4 games and are ahead of PAF and Army on better goal difference, though Navy and KRL both have a game in hand and could change that.

Tonight, 11 October sees PAF face KPT while SSGC take on SNGPL in the first ever ‘Sui Gas Derby’ in the PPFL.