Sports Reporter – DAWN
KARACHI: Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) overcame Bhutan’s Ugyen Academy 3-0 on Friday to put themselves in pole position to qualify to the final round of the AFC President’s Cup.
Progression from Group ‘A’ being played in Colombo will help Tariq Lutfi’s side earn a place in the playoff round of the AFC Cup – Asia’s second-tier club competition – and put them on track on going one better than last season where they were losing finalists.
KRL’s victory followed their goalless draw against Sheikh Russel KC in the opening match on Wednesday and put them level on four points with the Bangladesh side atop the group.
Sheikh Russel thrashed Sri Lanka’s Air Force SC 5-0 in the other game on Friday at the Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo, according to the information made available here.
KRL now face Air Force SC on Sunday and need a draw against the hosts to reach the next round. Air Force SC are a point behind the Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) champions following their 1-0 win over Ugyen Academy in the opening match.
“It was a good victory and hopefully this will propel us to the final round,” KRL manager Ayaz Butt told Dawn after the match. “The players played wonderfully well.”
KRL took less than a minute to take the lead with Rizwan Asif squaring the ball for Yasir Afridi to tap in from close range.
They doubled their advantage in the 14th when Mahmood Khan found his brother Dawood with a delightful through ball and he fired in. Veteran midfielder Mohammad Qasim added their third in injury time.
“The victory sets up nicely for the final game of the group,” Lutfi said in his post-match conference. “Hopefully, we’ll make our advantage count against Air Force SC despite them having home advantage.”