KARACHI: Habib Bank Limited (HBL) averted relegation by inflicting a stunning 2-0 defeat on former champions Army in the 9th Pakistan Premier Football League here on Tuesday, while former four-time champions WAPDA defeated National Bank 1-0.
At the Peoples Sports Complex, Habib Bank gave a New Year gift to their high-ups by shocking the soldiers to retain their seat in the prime league for the next season with 31 points from 28 games as they surpassed PMC FC who are struggling at 21 points from 27 matches.
Now the fight for avoiding relegation will be between Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL), PMC FC and Baloch FC. One of them will go down to the second-tier league. Wohaib FC have already been relegated.
After averting a few nasty rallies in the start, Habib Bank got onto the scoresheet when Atif struck in the ninth minute before Mohammad Yaqoob doubled their lead in the 33rd minute that lasted till the final whistle.
“Army had got five corners in the initial five minutes but we were lucky to take the lead that brought Army under pressure,” Habib Bank coach Yousuf Khan told ‘The News’.
“You know we have passed through very difficult phase as our frontline was not clicking. But in the last few matches we converted chances and you see the result,” said Yousuf.
“Now after averting relegation, we will try to repeat the same performance in our last two games as well,” Yousuf said.
Army have 51 points from 25 meetings.
Here at the KPT Stadium, international midfielder Zulfiqar Shah struck in the 29th minute to provide a narrow victory to WAPDA over National Bank. WAPDA were reduced to ten men when their midfielder Mohammad Ahmed was sent off by referee Javed Bangash in the 44th minute.
But they still managed to maintain the lead due to poor finishing from their rivals. “We missed five to six sure goals,” National Bank coach Nasir Ismail said. “If our most experienced players like Abdul Aziz misses two open net chances in the six yards then what can we do?” Nasir said.
“In the initial five minutes Adam’s shot crashed the post. And I always say that we need better strikers. I will request my department to give us a few good strikers for the next season. If it happens it will strengthen our frontline and if it doesn’t then grooming the youngsters will definitely take some time,” Nasir added.
Zulfiqar Shah was adjudged the best player of the show.
The victory inflated WAPDA’s tally to 29 from 25 appearances, while National Bank stand at 37 points from 27 outings.
Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) will lock horns with two-time defending champions KRL here at the KPT Stadium on Wednesday (today). In the other game of the day Muslim FC meet Wohaib FC at the Government High School Ground in Chaman. But ‘The News’ has learnt that Wohaib FC, who have already been relegated, have forfeited their final three matches they are scheduled to play in Balochistan.
by Alam Zeb Safi [TheNews]
9th Pakistan Premier Football League-2012 (9th PPFL-2012)
Match Results (Tuesday, December 01, 2013)
Match # 209
HBL beat Army 2:0 @ 14:30 PST @ Peoples Football Stadium, Karachi, Pakistan
Scorer HBL: Atif (FW) 1 Goal @ 9 Mnt and Muhammad Yaqoob (FW) 1 Goal @ 32 Mnt.
Best Scorer: Atif (FW) of HBL
Best Player: Ghaznafer Abbas (DF) of HBL
Match Commissioner: Ali Nawaz Baloch Cell # 0300-2146038
Match # 210
WAPDA beat NBP 1:0 @ 14:30 PST @ KPT Football Stadium, Karachi, Pakistan
Scorer WAPDA: Zulfiqar Shah (MF) 1 Goal @ 29 Mnt.
Yellow Card WAPDA: Zulfiqar Shah (MF) @ 31 Mnt, Waseem Abbas (DF) @ 42 Mnt, Syed Arif Hussain (MF) @ 80 Mnt.
Yellow Card NBP: Abdul Aziz (MF) @ 71 Mnt and Javed Hamza (MF) @ 90+3 Mnt.
Red Card WAPDA: Muhammad Ahmed (MF) 2 Yellow Cards @ 31 and 44 Mnts.
Best Scorer: Zulfiqar Shah (MF) of WAPDA
Best Player: Zulfiqar Shah (MF) of WAPDA
Match Commissioner: Abdul Shakoor Baloch Cell # 0321-9299986
9th Pakistan Premier Football League (9th PPFL-2012)
Tomorrow Fixture :(Wednesday, January 02, 2013)
Match # 212 Muslim FC Vs Wohaib FC @ 14:30 PST @ Govt. High School Ground, Chaman, Pakistan
Match # 213 KESC Vs KRL @ 14:30 PST @ KPT Football Stadium, Karachi, Pakistan