The 9th UBL Omni Karachi United Football League 2011-12 saw an intriguing Group ‘B’ match yesterday, Thursday 3 November 2011, between Baloch Mohammadan (Malir) and Al-Shabaz (Korangi). Baloch Mohammadan fought hard to record a narrow 1-0 win over their more accomplished rivals to win 3 points at Korangi Baloch Stadium in Sharafi, Karachi.
The match was decided by a headed goal from Baloch Mohammadan’s ex-Pakistan international striker Naseem Akhtar in 2nd half. Naseem Akhtar had represented Pakistan in 1994 AFC Asian Youth Cup qualifiers in Muscat (Oman) as well as 1996 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers in Iran. Naseem plyed his trade nationally by playing for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and National Bank of Pakistan (NBP).
Al-Shabaz wasted a glorious chance to equalise when they missed a last-minute penalty. To make matters worse, Al-Shabaz player Muhammad Noor was suspended for a game with a red card from the referee when he attacked some Baloch Mohammadan players in anger at the end of the match.
The 4 PM PST kick-off between the two sides a tense 90 minutes of football. Favourites Al-Shabaz started well with its strikers Akhtar Rasheed, Fareed Alam, Abdur Rehman, and Shah Alam combining well going forward. However, Baloch Mohammadan goalkeeper Abdul Latif denied the opposition numerous chances to score as the scoreline remained 0-0 at half time.
In 2nd half, Baloch Mohammadan gathered confidence and put Al-Shabaz under pressure by playing a fluid 4-3-3 formation. Naseem Akhtar, despite his advancing years, expertly played as target man and combined well with his wingers Imran Jr. and Roshan Aziz to trouble Al-Shabaz defences with the passing help of midfielders Akbar, captain Imran Raza, and Waleed. However, Al-Shabaz goalie Manzoor Alam proved to be a brick wall to their efforts.
Finally, Naseem Akhtar broke the deadlock in 55th minute when he expertly headed in a Imran Jr. corner kick to make Baloch Mohammadan go 1-0 up. The goal caused Al-Shabaz to go all-out attack in response but opposing goalie Abdul Latif denied Al-Shabaz various chances to score. Al-Shabaz found a lifeline in the 90th minute when Muhammad Yousaf was fouled in the box, leading to a penalty. But Shah Alam wasted this opportunity to equalise when his spot kick was well saved by Abdul Latif as the match finished 1-0 in favour of Baloch Mohammadan.
Referees were Aziz Pasha, Khalid Mumtaz Jami, Naseer Umar, and match commissioner Abdul Karim. The result left Baloch Mohammadan with 4 points from 2 games, while Al-Shabaz remained on 3 points after 2 games. On Saturday, 5 Nov 2011, Burma Mohammadan (Korangi) face Shazad Mohammadan (Malir) at the same venue for their Group ‘A’ clash.