KARACHI: Khayyal Mohammad guided Habib Bank Limited (HBL) to their first win of the season with a 1-0 triumph over National Bank in their match of the Pakistan Premier Football League here at the People’s Sports Complex on Friday.
Khayyal scored from a penalty in the 40th minute to take HBL’s points to six from four games after they opened the season with three consecutive draws.
And HBL manager Yousuf Khan was delighted with the work of his defenders.
“I would like to appreciate my defenders including Shahid and Rahim who did a brilliant job in the deep. We could have ended better had we not missed four chances. But the narrow victory will really boost our morale as we are still undefeated,” Yousuf told ‘The News’ after the match.
“Although two of our top players including Khayyal Mohammad and Abdul Salam have been suspended for our next match (against KESC on July 18), we have better replacements for them and my team will not face any problem in the next match.”
The loss meant that National Bank are still at the second spot in the table with nine points from four games.
National Bank’s assistant coach Zahid Taj lamented his players’ poor finishing. “Our forwards missed out several clear chances. But I would praise HBL goalie Dilawar Hussain and defender Shahid who both remained excellent today and thwarted all the efforts of our frontline,” Zahid Taj said.
In an open game, both sides created several chances. After taking the lead, Habib Bank kept up the pressure with good ball possession. In the 90th, Habib Bank were reduced to ten men when referee Shafaat Habib sent off Khayyal Mohammad with a straight red card but by then, the Bankers had done their job.
KRL are at the top of the standings with 13 points from five games, followed by National Bank (9 points, 4 matches), PIA (9,3), Afghan FC (7,3), Police (6,3), KPT (6,3), HBL (6,4), KESC (5,3), WAPDA (5,5), Army (4,5), Muslim FC (4,3), Navy (2,5), Baloch FC (2,3), PAF (2,5) and PMC (1,4).
Today’s fixtures: PIA v KESC (KPT Football Stadium, Karachi), Police v PEL (Sadiq Shaheed Stadium, Quetta).