KARACHI: Setting aside the agony of the previous two losses Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) made a strong comeback when they whipped struggling Habib Bank Limited (HBL) 3-0 in a match of the tenth edition of the Pakistan Premier Football League here at the KPT Stadium on Sunday, 8 Sept 2013.
Meanwhile, Army held WAPDA to a 1-1 draw in the clash of giants in Lahore.
PIA, who had lost their initial two matches, came out of the trouble to tame HBL convincingly. Nasrullah put PIA in front in the 16th minute before Riaz Ahmed doubled their lead in the 43rd minute. After the breather PIA kept good ball possession and it was their striker Mohammad Ishtiaq who made it 3-0 with a nice chip in the 80th minute.
But PIA coach Shamim Khan was still not happy with his team’s performance. “We should have won by at least six goals,” said Shamim, a former international.
Meanwhile, HBL manager Yousuf Khan was shocked by the result. “I am really disappointed. I was not expecting this,” Yousuf told this correspondent. “Our aim was to win this match because our rivals were not that strong,” he said.
Khan hoped that he would try his level best to put his side on the right track. “We also used our striker Atif in the second half and he instilled life in the frontline. I hope that a few good results in the coming few matches will help us to settle down,” said Yousuf.
Meanwhile, the outing between the two heavyweights — Army and WAPDA — ended in a stalemate at the Model Town Football Academy Ground in Lahore.
WAPDA opened the scoring through Arif Mehmood in the 32nd minute before Army brought the parity through Zafarullah Javed in the 74th minute.
WAPDA coach Khalid Butt said that his players were not in top physical fitness.
“The players came to me on August 22, just a week before the start of the event. And still they are not in their peak fitness,” Butt said. “But still our progress is not that bad as we have got seven points from three outings,” said the coach.
Under Butt WAPDA lifted Premier League titles for record four times. But a couple of years ago he was removed by WAPDA Sports Board and WAPDA’s performance in the last two seasons was disappointing.
Butt was hopeful that the team would get stronger. “I have also asked for the inclusion of Mehmood Ali and Imran Niazi and we will get them soon,” Butt revealed.
Army coach Major Shafqat said his team played well. “My team played tremendously well. In the initial 15 minutes we missed a couple of easy chances. And the goal we conceded was unexpected,” he said.
Shafqat feels that he needs goalkeeper like Jaffar. “Jaffar was our precious asset and we need a keeper like him,” said the coach.
“His injury is serious and he will at least need a year to recover,” he said.