Sports Reporter – DAWN
KARACHI, Dec 12: Milli Afghan FC and Baloch FC Dalbadin secured their spots in the mini-league of the Club Leg of the Pakistan Football Federation League (PFFL) with victories in their qualifying group games on Thursday.
Riding on Sabir Ali’s hat-trick, Milli Afghan FC thumped Green Star FC 5-2 to secure top spot in Group ‘B’ while Baloch FC Dalbadin also had their own treble hero in Shakrullah whose three goals in the last 20 minutes helped them win 3-1 against Young Blood FC and win Group ‘C’.
Milli Afghan FC and Baloch FC Dalbadin will be joined by Group ‘A’ winners in the three-team mini-league to decide the Club Leg winners, who will be promoted to the Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) next season.
The Club Leg winners will play the winners of the Departmental Leg to decide the PFFL champions.In Lahore, Sabir scored twice in the last five minutes to kill any chances of a Green Star fightback after the Okara club had comeback from 3-0 down to reduce Milli Afghan’s lead to 3-2.
Milli Afghan, who beat Wohaib FC 1-0 in their opening game, took a 2-0 lead by half-time courtesy Abdul Qadir’s eighth minute strike and a goal Abdul Salam in the 41st.
Sabir extended their lead in the 63rd but Green Star hit back with two goals in the space of five minutes through Amjad and Kashif to put the tie delicately poised with a quarter of an hour left to play.
However, Sabir eased Milli Afghan nerves by scoring his second in the 85th before completing his hat-trick in stoppage time to make the final Group ‘B’ clash between Wohaib and Green Star a mere formality.
The final Group ‘C’ clash between Baloch FC Dalbadin and Young Blood in Sahiwal on Thursday was a straight shootout between the two sides with both having won their opening fixtures against Humma FC.
Asim Masroor put Young Blood ahead just past the half-hour mark but Shakrullah levelled matters in the 70th before putting Baloch FC Dalbadin 2-1 up seven minutes later.
The striker completed his hat-trick in the 90th to seal his side’s spot in the next round with a prefect two wins out of two.
Group ‘A’, meanwhile, will go down to the wire with the final clash between PMC Athletico Faisalabad and Baloch FC Quetta deciding the winners from the section.
Baloch FC Quetta secured a 1-1 draw with Chand FC in Layyah on Tuesday with Inamullah’s 52nd-minute strike for the latter cancelling out Ashar Shah’s opener in the 26th for his side’s second straight draw following their goalless stalemate with PMC Athletico in their opening game.
The winners of the final Group ‘A’ match will secure a place in the next round but a draw in that game will lead to the outcome being decided on goals scored.
Meanwhile, the Departmental Leg mini-league will kick off from Friday here with Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC), Karachi United, Pakistan Police, Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Pakistan Railways set to battle it out for a spot in next year’s PPFL.