Alam Zeb Safi – The News
KARACHI: Faisalabad’s Lyallpur FC on Wednesday became the fourth team to be relegated from the Pakistan Premier Football League when they went 1-2 down against Chaman’s Muslim FC in their game at the Faisal Town Football Ground in Lahore.
Nushki’s Baloch FC, Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) and Pak Afghan Clearing Agency (PACA) have already been demoted to the second tier slots.
Two more outfits are to be relegated. National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Afghan FC, Habib Bank Limited (HBL) and Navy are battling to avoid relegation.
Muslim, having passed through a lean patch, finally recorded their 12th win from 26 matches when they tamed Lyallpur, who had made their PPFL debut this season.
After a barren first half, Mohammad Tahir put Muslim ahead in the 79th minute. Saeed-ur-Rehman struck in the injury time to double their lead. Soon afterwards, Lyallpur reduced the deficit through a consolation strike from Abdul Razzaq.
The win took Muslim to 43 points with four games yet in hand. This was the 15th loss for Lyallpur from 26 meetings.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) awarded points to all the teams who had matches scheduled against ZTBL. The bank has forfeited its last 13 games and is likely to disband the team after the contracts of the players expire next month.
Sources told this correspondent that ZTBL players were considering a sit-in protest in front of the parliament house in Islamabad if they were removed.
On Tuesday, Navy overwhelmed Pakistan Air Force (PAF) 2-0 at the Battle X Ground to finish their campaign with 35 points from 30 matches. Khuda Bakhsh and Mohammad Bilal struck one goal apiece in the 73rd minute and injury time, respectively.
The loss left PAF at 43 points from 24 outings. The Model Town Football Academy Ground, KESC snatched a 1-0 victory against Baloch FC thanks to Mohammad Rasool’s strike on penalty in the 35th minute.
KESC moved to 55 points at the summit, having played 25 matches. Baloch, who have already been relegated, have 19 points after 28 games.
Afghan FC held PIA to a 2-2 draw at the Model Town Football Academy Ground to rise to 31 points from 24 meetings. Afghan went ahead through skipper Jadeed Khan Pathan’s tenth-minute goal. PIA bounced back strongly when Mohammad Kamran struck for them twice, in the 60th and the 67th minutes. However, Samad Khan brought parity for Afghan in the injury time to ensure one point for his team.
PIA advanced to 43 points after 28 outings. Karachi Port Trust (KPT) held former champions Army 1-1 to move to 35 points after 24 games. Zafar Majeed put KPT ahead in the 41st minute. Mohammad Rehman levelled the score for Army in the 88th minute.
Army have 36 points from 22 matches.
HBL will be in a do-or-die situation when they face WAPDA in their last show on Thursday (today).
HBL, reeling at 34 points, must win to avoid relegation. This correspondent learnt that the team meeting was going to be held on Wednesday night to devise a plan for the vital game.
Today’s fixtures: KESC v NBP (Model Town Football Academy Ground, Lahore), WAPDA v HBL (Faisal Town Football Ground, Lahore), PAF v Baloch FC (Battle X Ground, Lahore)