KARACHI: Clinical Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) retained the title when they held National Bank to a goalless draw in their match of the 9th Pakistan Premier Football League here at the KPT Stadium on Monday.
With the output, KRL, carrying a number of international players in their side, inflated their tally to 66 with a decent goal-average of plus 50 and three matches still to play.
This is overall the third title for KRL and a second consecutive one. They had worn their maiden crown in 2009 under coach Sajjad Mehmood but in 2010 WAPDA dethroned them when they lifted their fourth title after having won it in 2004, 2007 and 2008.
However, in 2011 KRL were able to reclaim it under coach Tariq Lutfi and the country’s top team have once again ensured the coveted title under Lutfi well before the league ends on January 15.
Army have to their credit titles in 2005 and 2006.
“It’s a great achievement,” KRL coach Tariq Lutfi told ‘The News’ after confirming title. “You can imagine that we won it when we still have to play our last three matches. I am really satisfied with the way the team played throughout the tournament,” said the delighted Lutfi, a former Pakistan coach.
The splendid achievement also once again put KRL in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President’s Cup which will be held in the coming months. “Yes, again we are in the AFC President’s Cup and this time we will try to make good preparation for it,” Tariq said.
Tariq said that the number of teams should be reduced in the Premier League next time. “I think if there are a smaller number of teams then a side will get at least four days between two matches and the players will get time to recover from injuries,” Tariq pointed out.
KRL have tasted defeat only once so far, when they were beaten by Chaman’s Muslim FC 1-0 in Chaman last month.
It was a tough game with both sides offering strong resistance to each others’ attacks. In the first half, KRL were unlucky not to go ahead when Saddullah’s header on rebound went off the target.
National Bank received a heavy blow when their midfielder Adnan Nazar was sent off with a red card in the 53rd minute.
In the 73rd minute, National Bank were close to get onto the scoresheet but Mohammad Asif’s pile-driver from just outside the area crashed the post.
A few minutes later National Bank goalkeeper Mohammad Omar made two excellent saves. First he splendidly gathered a forceful long range-shot before stopping a header from substitute striker Kaleem Ullah while dividing towards his left.
The splendid display earned Omar, who is an international player, the best player award of Rs2500.
“Omar did a fine job under the cage,” National Bank coach Nasir Ismail said. “We were a bit unlucky as Asif hit the post but I am satisfied with the performance of my boys,” the coach said.
“The Quetta round affected our position and you know we have been so unlucky this season that our 20 to 22 shots hit the post,” said Nasir.
The single point pushed National Bank to 38 points from 28 games and they are likely to end the season at the sixth spot.
Meanwhile, Nushki’s Baloch FC were given a walkover when Wohaib FC, who have already been relegated, did not turn up for the showdown scheduled at the Nushki Stadium in Balochistan.
Baloch FC inflated their tally to 32 from 29 matches, while Lahore’s Wohaib FC ended their campaign at the rock bottom with just eight points to their credit.
Today’s fixtures: Afghan FC v PAF (Government High School Ground, Chaman), KESC v Army (KPT Stadium, Karachi), PIA v WAPDA (Korangi Baloch Football Ground, Sharafi Goth, Karachi).
9th Pakistan Premier Football League-2012 (9th PPFL-2012)
Match Results (Monday, December 07, 2013)
Match # 224
Baloch FC Vs Wohaib FC @ 14:30 PST @ Noushki Football Stadium, Noushki, Pakistan
(Walkover given in favour of Baloch FC because Wohaib FC did not turn up)
Match Commissioner: Muhammad Shafique Cell # 0301-3737814
Match # 225
NBP Vs KRL 0:0 Draw @ 14:30 PST @ KPT Football Stadium, Karachi, Pakistan
Yellow Card NBP: Adam Hameed (FW) @ 90 Mnt.
Red Card NBP: Adnan Nazar (MF) two yellow cards @ 18 and 53 Mnts.
Best Player: Muhammad Umar (GK) of NBP
Match Commissioner: Abdul Shakoor Baloch Cell # 0321-9299986
9th Pakistan Premier Football League (9th PPFL-2012)
Tomorrow Fixture ( Monday, January 07, 2013)
Match # 226 Afghan FC Vs PAF @ 14:30 PST @ Govt. High School Ground, Chaman, Pakistan
Match # 227 KESC Vs Army @ 14:30 PST @ KPT Football Stadium, Karachi, Pakistan
Match # 228 PIA Vs WAPDA @ 14:30 PST @ Korangi Football Stadium, Karachi, Pakistan
|#||Team||MP||W||D||L||F||A||D||P||Last 5 matches|
|1||KRL||27||20||6||1||62||13||+49||66||D W W D L|
|2||Pakistan Army||27||17||6||4||35||11||+24||57||W W L W D|
|3||Karachi Electric||28||16||8||4||57||26||+31||56||L D D W W|
|4||Muslim||28||16||8||4||43||22||+21||56||W W W W D|
|5||Pakistan Air Force||28||15||8||5||46||21||+25||53||L W D L W|
|6||National Bank||28||9||11||8||30||26||+4||38||D L W W L|
|7||Pakistan Navy||28||8||9||11||27||31||-4||33||L D W W W|
|8||Baloch||29||8||9||12||27||36||-9||33||W W D D W|
|9||Pakistan Airlines||28||7||11||10||25||26||-1||32||L D D W W|
|10||Afghan FC||27||9||5||13||25||32||-7||32||L W L L L|
|11||Habib Bank||29||7||11||11||27||36||-9||32||D W W W D|
|12||WAPDA||27||7||10||10||34||39||-5||31||D D W L L|
|13||Karachi Port Trust||28||8||6||14||33||43||-10||30||L L W L W|
|14||ZTBL||29||6||9||14||22||38||-16||27||W D L W L|
|15||PMC Athletico||29||4||12||13||18||44||-26||24||L W L L D|
|16||Wohaib||30||1||5||24||8||75||-67||8||L L L L L|