Lahore, 24 April: Pakistani skipper Samar Ishaq struck a goal and foiled a penalty in penalty shoot out session as KRL cruised into the final when they outkicked Army 4-2 in first semi-final of 21st National Bank Football Cup on Sunday after 1-1 draw. KRL will collide with winner of PIA /KESC tie in the final. The 16-team show’s final will be played at Bohranwali Ground inside Jinnah Garden, near Hotel Serena on Wednesday at 4 PM. The bronze medal match is slated for 26 April.
Army-KRL encounter was the repeat of the 14th National Challenge Cup 2001 when Army got rid of KRL at Bahawalpur’s Dring stadia. Army’s skipper was then Shaukat Ali who is now coach of the team.
The chief guest of the match were Mohsin Rasheed, NBP’s OGI Sports NBP Incharge Liaquat Raheem. They were welcomed by Organizing Secretary Saif Ur Rehman Bhatti.
Under Jaffar Khan, called by Tariq Lutfi for National Camp for 2014 World Cup Qualifiers at the eleventh hour due to injuries to several GKs along with Abdul Aziz (WAPDA), the soldiers put up fine display in all-Rawalpindi clash to hold KRL 1-1 in normal time.
KRL started the game with skipper Samar Ishaq as sweeper and Hussnain Abbas up front but having strong midfield line comprised of Muhammad Qasim, Mehmood Khan, Muhammad Adil.
Both the teams applied cautious strategy in the intial minute and game confined to midfield. The goal draught was stopped by Muhammad Ikram in his own town in the 30th minute when he hammered the ball past keeper Ghulam Nabi after a througth ball from Shahid Zameer. Army led 1-0 at interval but they conceded equalizer following big pressure from all angles. Half time substitute Zia Us Salam, who came on for Mehmood Khan, swept a corner across the goalmouth and Hussain Abbas, also of Faisalabad who recently joined KRL from PIA, rose high above every body and thumped the ball past D.I.Khan born Jaffar Khan with powerful header.
Lutfi also asked Saad Ullah, a second hat-trick maker against KPT in 6-0 quarter-final win, and Kalim Ullah, who struck both KRL’s goals in AFC President’s Cup 2009, but they failed to create impression. The match ended 1-1 during scheduled 90 minute and 30-minutes extra time also failed to produce a goal and tie breaker was enforced to get the outcome.
The first semi-final was supervised by Jehangir Khan, supported on the line by Waheed Murad, Rana Naseer Ahmed and 4th Official Muhammad Shahbaz under Match Commissioner Ahmed Ali and Referee Assessor Qazi Muhammad Asif.
Second Semi Final: PIA v KESC (Bohranwali Ground 4 PM)