Alam Zeb Safi [The News]
KARACHI: Striker Mohammad Rasool struck two goals as Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) defeated former champions Army 2-0 in their opening game of the eighth edition of the Pakistan Premier Football League here on Tuesday.
Rasool netted in the 35th and 85th minute to give KESC a fine start in the 240-match marathon here at the KPT Football Stadium.
“I am very happy with the fine start. Rasool has come to the team with great fitness after his association with the national team for the World Cup qualifiers. If he and other players remain fit I hope that we will be able to produce some more stunning performances in the days to come,” KESC skipper Mohammad Essa told ‘The News’.
In an end-to-end game, KESC took the lead when Rasool lobbed the ball over the advancing Army goalkeeper Jaffar Khan.
In the second-half, Army were reduced to ten men when Tanvir Shahid was sent off by former FIFA referee Jehangir Khan with a straight red card when he tried to charge striker Rasool just outside the goal area.
Moments later, Essa hit the crossbar with a stunning free-kick.
Army missed the chances that came their way with KESC shot-stopper Jahangir Khan holding on to a shot from Imran Hussain before international striker miscued two shots.
Rasool sealed the win for KESC before Ikram failed to reduce the arrears; missing an easy chance in injury-time.
Earlier, the event was formally inaugurated during a colourful ceremony. KESC Sports Manager Zeb Khan was the chief guest. Also present were the Vice-President of the Sindh Football Association Abdul Malik Khan, Sports Manager KPT Shah Naeem Zafar and the assistant coach of the Pakistan team Nasir Ismail.
In another game here at the Peoples Sports Complex, Habib Bank twice came from behind to hold Navy to a 2-2 draw. Naveed Ahmed gave Navy the lead in the second minute before HBL leveled it through Mohammad Ibrahim in the 27th. Navy took the lead again when Mohammad Ramzan converted a penalty in the 43rd but Khayyal Mohammad brought the bankers into the game with an equaliser in the 50th.
At the Sadiq Shaheed Stadium in Quetta, debutants Muslim FC stunned PMC Athletico 1-0 with Mohammad Hanif scoring the winner in the 56th minute.
Today’s fixtures: Baloch FC v KRL (Sadiq Shaheed Stadium, Quetta), Afghan FC v WAPDA (Sadiq Shaheed Stadium, Quetta), NBP v PAF (KPT Stadium, Karachi).