KARACHI: National Bank recorded their second successive victory when they trounced Navy 2-0 in the Pakistan Premier Football League here at the Korangi Baloch Football Ground in Sharafi Goth on Friday.
National Bank, who recently won the National Challenge Cup in Bahawalpur for the first time in history, scored the fastest goal of the marathon so far when Mohammad Asif hit it through his personal effort in the 42nd second.
After taking the lead, National Bank kept the pressure on former National Challenge Cup champions Navy with incisive rallies from both wings. Navy, who were held by Karachi Port Trust (KPT) in their opener after their rivals struck the equaliser in the dying moments, could have struck twice near the end of the first half but wasted the opportunities due to lack of coordination among the strikers.
At half time National Bank were leading 1-0. After the breather National Bank’s forward Adam Hameed got injured in a collision with Navy’s keeper Shehzad. It forced the management to send discarded international Farooq Shah in his place. The change turned out to be a blessing for the bankers as Farooq sprinted past the Navy’s defence before nudging the ball smartly in the far post in the 55th minute.
Farooq, who played for a Swedish club a couple of years back, energised the frontline by showing great agility upfront.
Navy came close to reducing the deficit twice after 70 minutes but National Bank’s defenders did a fine job to thwart the attacks.
National Bank, who had defeated Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) 1-0 in their opener at the KMC Stadium, were playing without their head coach Nasir Ismail, who is busy preparing the national Under-19 team for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-19 Championship Qualifiers to be held in Iraq early next month. Zahid Taj was acting in his place.
“It was a good victory,” National Bank manager Qamar Ali told ‘The News’ after the match. “Our coach Nasir Ismail had worked hard in preparing the side for the event. And now when he is not available due to national duty the rest of the coaching staff is working on the same pattern that Nasir gave and the result is before you,” said Qamar.
He appreciated Farooq’s role in the event. “You know Farooq is our most experienced player. We hold him in the start and then send him in substitution in order to get the best out of him,” said Qamar.
National Bank stretched their points to six from two outings. Navy have just one point after two appearances.
Today’s fixture: Faisalabad’s Lyallpur FC v PAF (Model Town Football Academy Ground, Lahore).
from: The News