KARACHI: International striker Mohammad Rasool hit a brace to guide Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) to a 2-1 victory over Habib Bank Limited (HBL) in their opening match of the Pakistan Premier Football League here at the KPT Stadium on Tuesday.
Rasool, who has been surprisingly ignored for the SAFF Cup being held in Kathmandu, struck in 36th and 78th minutes. Saeed hit the lone one for Habib Bank in the 84th minute.
KESC looked impressive from the start, keeping ball possession. Habib Bank, who were missing their key players due to various reasons, looked a weakened side, particularly at upfront, and did not trouble the KESC’s strong defence much.
In the 22nd minute KESC could have taken the initiative but Abid Khan’s drive from close range went off the target. Two minutes later Rasool found Mohammad Essa in front of the goal but the skipper missed an easy chance.
However, in the 36th minute, Rasool sprinted past the HBL defence before nicely tapping the ball over the onrushing keeper Sajid to provide lead to KESC.
At half time, they were leading 1-0. After the breather, the contest became more aggressive with Habib Bank failing to capitalise on a couple of chances.
In the 78th minute Rasool doubled KESC’s lead when he guided the ball in on a nice cross from Abdul Rehman from the right.
Six minutes later Habib Bank reduced the deficit through Saeed who fired the only goal for his team in the 84th minute.
“We missed a lot of chances which is a serious matter for us,” KESC skipper Mohammad Essa told this correspondent.
“But we have a week before our next match, so we will work on finishing,” said former Pakistan captain.
He said that still the team did well to take a good start. About his own fitness Essa said that he had not practised for around nine months due to a knee injury but now he was fit.
“I feel fit now and have been undergoing training for the last 20 days. I hope I will come into top rhythm as the time progresses,” said the playmaker.
Habib Bank manager Yousuf Khan said that he was not playing with his full squad. “You know we had a weak frontline because Mubashir underwent an abdomen surgery a week ago and Atif was injured in the bomb blast in Lyari in Ramadan,” Yousuf told this correspondent.
“We had also to replace our young striker Bilal after 15 minutes because he was vomiting. Khayyal Mohammad, Salam, Kaleem and Ibrahim were also off-colour but I hope after front-runners Atif and Mubashir join us we will settle down,” Yousuf said.
Licence B coach Zafar Iqbal has been hired by the HBL for the league. Under the rules of the competitions only an AFC License B holder can serve as head coach.
Today’s fixture: Pakistan Air Force v Army at Railways Stadium, Lahore.
from: The News