KARACHI: Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC), eyeing their maiden crown, suffered a blow on Saturday when they were held by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to a 1-1 draw in their vital match of the 9th Pakistan Premier Football League here at the KPT Stadium.
KESC, who are still in contention for the title, were unlucky not to get a good start as they missed a couple of easy chances in the initial few minutes. Chitral-born striker Mohammad Rasool’s drive in the goalmouth went off before midfielder Mohammad Riaz’s shot was splendidly punched away by experienced PIA keeper Abu Bakr, who had a glorious day under the cage that later earned him the best player award of Rs2500.
After having failed to covert opportunities, KESC’s miserable run continued when their rivals PIA got a penalty in the 21st minute and Nasrullah did not make any mistake and scored from the spot. At half-time, PIA had a 1-0 edge.
Soon after the breather KESC were able to bring the parity through striker Abdul Salam who struck in the 46th minute.
Half way into the second half PIA coach Shamim Khan, while showing dismay over the decisions of the referee, called back his players on the sideline in protest but sent them back on the intervention of the match commissioner.
In the final moments, KESC had a couple of forceful rallies but Abu Bakr averted them acrobatically. Just a few minutes from time Abu Bakr developed a knee injury while collecting a drive from the KESC left-out and was replaced by young Sultan Ali who was lucky not to concede a goal in the dying moments.
“We were unlucky not to fire a goal in the start and soon after a penalty was given against us that damaged our cause,” KESC coach Akber Ali told ‘The News’.
“It was a very crucial game for us but still we managed to grab a point as a loss could have been more fatal for the team,” said Akber.
“We will now play against KRL on January 2 and our skipper Mohammad Essa is also coming. But he is injured and whether he will play or not against the best team of the country will be decided after he will attend a couple of training sessions ahead of the key clash,” Akber revealed.
Essa, who is out of the team due to a knee injury, has always been a key in the KESC’s success story as in their away game against KRL in Lahore when they were down 2-0 at one stage and it looked that they would lose the game. But Essa, in spite of injury, came in the second half and guided his side to hold KRL after a thrilling fight.
Meanwhile, PIA coach Shamim Khan was satisfied with his team’s fine effort.
“I think our team played extremely well today,” Shamim said.
“After Shakir Lashari and Nasrullah recovered from injury the team has been performing well. The credit today also goes to our keeper Abu Bakr who made a few saves especially in the start,” added Shamim, also a former international.
The single point helped KESC inflate their tally to 55 from 26 meetings while PIA moved to 31 points from 26 appearances.
On Sunday (today), Karachi Port Trust (KPT) take on Habib Bank Limited (HBL) in another crucial match here at the KPT Stadium. Habib Bank, trailing at 24 points from 25 matches, need a few wins to avoid relegation.
|#||Team||MP||W||D||L||F||A||D||P||Last 5 matches|
|1||KRL||24||18||5||1||57||12||+45||59||D L W W W|
|2||Karachi Electric||26||16||7||3||55||21||+34||55||D W W W L|
|3||Pakistan Air Force||27||15||8||4||46||18||+28||53||W D L W W|
|4||Pakistan Army||24||15||6||3||32||9||+23||51||W D D W W|
|5||Muslim||26||14||8||4||36||22||+14||50||W W D W W|
|6||National Bank||26||9||10||7||30||25||+5||37||W W L L D|
|7||Pakistan Navy||26||8||8||10||27||29||-2||32||W W W L W|
|8||Pakistan Airlines||26||7||10||9||23||23||+0||31||D W W W L|
|9||Karachi Port Trust||26||8||6||12||31||38||-7||30||W L W W D|
|10||Afghan FC||24||8||5||11||21||28||-7||29||L L W D W|
|11||WAPDA||24||6||8||10||31||37||-6||26||L L L L D|
|12||Baloch||26||6||8||12||20||35||-15||26||D W W L W|
|13||Habib Bank||26||5||10||11||20||33||-13||25||W D W L D|
|14||ZTBL||27||5||8||14||18||36||-18||23||L W L L L|
|15||PMC Athletico||27||3||12||12||17||40||-23||21||L L D L L|
|16||Wohaib||27||1||5||21||8||66||-58||8||L L L L L|
9th Pakistan Premier Football League-2012 (9th PPFL-2012)
Match Results (Saturday, December 29, 2012)
Match # 207
KESC Vs PIA 1:1 Draw @ 14:30 PST @ KPT Football Stadium, Karachi, Pakistan
Scorer KESC: Abdul Salam (FW) 1 Goal @ 46 Mnt.
Scorer PIA: Nassarullah (MF) 1 Goal @ 21 Mnt.
Yellow Card KESC: Jaleel (MF) @ 62 Mnt.
Yellow Card PIA: Muhammad Ishtiaq (FW) @ 62 Mnt and Shakir Lashari (FW) @ 62 Mnt.
Best Scorer: Abdul Salam (FW) of KESC
Best Player: Abu-Bakr (GK) of PIA
Match Commissioner: Abdul Shakoor Baloch Cell # 0321-9299986
9th Pakistan Premier Football League (9th PPFL-2012)
Tomorrow Fixture :( Sunday, December 30, 2012)
Match # 166 KPT Vs HBL @ 14:30 PST @ KPT Football Stadium, Karachi, Pakistan