KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) started their crucial final round with a convincing 3-1 win over star-studded National Bank in their match of the Pakistan Premier Football League, which resumed here at the KPT Stadium on Monday.
International striker Shakir Lashari emerged as the hero for the winners with a fine brace. Nasrullah scored the third goal for the airline. Mohammad Asif struck the lone goal for the bankers.
On a lush green pitch, PIA, who before this game had won only three matches, looked in good mood right from the start.
Shakir, who had missed a few games due to injury, looked in good touch after regaining top fitness. Following incisive rallies, long and sturdy Shakir put PIA on the front foot in the 31st minute when he capitalised on a through pass.
At half time, PIA were leading 1-0. After the breather, both sides opted for aggressive display but it were again PIA who scored through their skipper Nasrullah in the 62nd minute.
National Bank reduced the deficit through Mohammad Asif five minutes later. But PIA again boosted their lead as Shakir netted his second goal six minutes from time.
The victory elated PIA coach Shamim Khan. “I am really happy today as we have taken a good start to our vital round,” Shamim told ‘The News’. “Shakir proved to be the main difference as he played with great commitment and it is very good sign for the team as he is a fine striker and has the ability to avail himself of maximum chances,” said Shamim, a former international.
NBP coach Nasir Ismail blamed strikers for the defeat. “We have no better striker as we got several chances but failed to capitalise,” Nasir said.
“We were also missing our two key players, Faisal Iqbal and Sher Mohammad, due to their engagement with the Pakistan Under-23 team in Bangladesh. And four other boys are still injured and it is very difficult to produce better results with the junior lot,” said Nasir.
The victory inflated PIA’s tally to 21 from 20 games, while National Bank are trailing at 30 points from 21 meetings.
KRL and Army share the top spot with 46 points each, followed by Muslim FC (43), PAF (40) and KESC (39).
The schedule of the event has been revised twice due to Pakistan team’s international assignments.
9th Pakistan Premier Football League-2012 (9th PPFL-2012)
Match Results (Monday, December 3, 2012)
Match # 169
PIA beat NBP 3:1 @ 1430 PST @ KPT Football Stadium, Karachi, Pakistan
Scorer PIA: Shakir Lashari (FW) 2 Goals @ 31, 84 Mnts, Nassar Ullah (MF) 1 Goal @ 62 Mnt.
Scorer NBP: Muhammad Asif (FW) 1 Goal @ 67 Mnt.
Yellow Card NBP: Farooq Shah (substitute FW) @ 56 Mnt.
Best Scorer: Shakir Lashari (FW) of PIA
Best Player: Zubair Moazam (DF) of PIAN
Match Commissioner: Abdul Shakoor Baloch Cell # 0301-3737814
9th Pakistan Premier Football League (9th PPFL-2012)
Tomorrow Fixture :( Tuesday, December 4, 2012)
Match # 170 HBL Vs Navy @ 1430 PST @ Peoples Football Stadium, Karachi, Pakistan