By Alam Zeb Safi, The News
KARACHI: Striker Hasnain Abbas’ second-half goal was enough to inspire Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) to their third successive title as they beat Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) 1-0 in the final of the NBP Football Cup 2011 at the Bohranwali Football Ground in Faisalabad on Wednesday.
In a hard-fought game, Hasnain landed the winer in the 74th minute after he smartly connected on a free-kick from the left wing to give KRL their first title under their new head coach Tariq Lutfi.
“It was a welcome title victory. Though we could not produce the result the way we had planned for,” KRL coach ‘Tariq Lutfi’ told The News after the match.
“We wanted to put them under pressure but we failed to do that in the first-half as we failed to convert on eleven corner-kicks But I am happy that all of our players especially the youngsters played well in the tournament,” Lutfi said.
KESC, playing their first final in a big event, opted to field half-fit striker Mohammad Rasool, who had developed a hamstring. But the decision backfired as the Chitral-born striker was soon replaced.
After a barren first-half, KRL dominated the second session and were able to strike through Hasnain 16 minutes from time. KESC went all out but were unlucky to bring an equaliser when Aurangzeb missed an open chance in the 87th minute.
In the end, a colourful closing ceremony was held during which Faisalabad’s commissioner Syed Tahir Hussain was the chief guest who gave away trophies and other cash awards to the leading teams and players.
Also present were the PML (N) MPA Khwaja Islam, representative from title sponsors NBP Anwer Farooqi and the Director Operations of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Pervez Saeed Mir and the Secretary Organizing Committee Saif Ur Rehman Bhatti.
The winners KRL were handed over a trophy and a purse of Rs150,000, the runners-up KESC went away with a trophy and Rs100,000 while the bronze medalists Army were given away Rs75,000. KESC were also awarded Fair-Play trophy and an additional purse of Rs 20,000. Similarly, Rs 10,000 each and trophies were given away to Jaffer Khan (Army, best goalkeeper), Hasnain Abbas (KRL, best player) and Mohammad Rasool (KESC, leading scorer, 5 goals).