KARACHI: Needing only a draw to make it to the final round, Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) will be looking to live up to the expectations when they face Sri Lanka Air Force FC in their Group A last outing of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President’s Cup at the Sugathadasa Sports Complex in Colombo on Sunday (today).
The match starts at 4pm PST.
KRL coach Tariq Lutfi was confident that his team would win the game and qualify for the final round. “Although Sri Lanka Air Force will go all out and will also have home advantage, I am confident we will be able to beat them,” Lutfi told ‘The News’ from Colombo on Saturday.
Lutfi was happy that his team did a great job in the absence of their top six players. “You know we are playing without our six leading players, but I am happy with the way we have played so far. We should win tomorrow’s game against Sri Lanka Air Force as well,” said Lutfi, a former Pakistan coach.
If KRL are able to qualify for the final round, they will also become eligible to play in the 2015 play-offs for the AFC Cup.
“Our entry into the final round is so important as it will give us the opportunity to play in the AFC Cup play-offs. If we managed that I would tell my manager Ayaz Butt to plan differently and form a much better team as we will not be able to play well with the current squad in the play-offs and the final round,” Lutfi pointed out. He praised his keeper Saqib Hanif for the way he has performed so far. “Saqib is in good form and is showing a lot of confidence. He is our top player of the tournament. If he continues to do well, I am confident he will cement his place in the Pakistan team as a frontline goalie,” Lutfi said.
KRL held Bangladesh’s Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra Limited to a goalless draw on Wednesday in their first game. They crushed Ugyen Academy FC of Bhutan in their second match on Friday to brighten their chances for qualifying for the final round to be held in September.
The other match of the day will be held between Sheikh Russel and Ugyen Academy FC.
After playing a draw against KRL, Sheikh Russel whipped Ugyen Academy FC 5-0 on Friday.