KARACHI: Karachi Port Trust (KPT) on Wednesday registered their second successive triumph when they shocked the last season’s runners-up K-Electric 2-1 in their match of the Pakistan Premier Football League here at the KPT Sports Complex.
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) recovered from their 2-0 loss against KPT to beat struggling National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) 2-1 at the Dr Mohammad Ali Shah Football Stadium in Korangi.
After a barren first half, KPT could have taken an early lead but Mohammad Bin Younis missed a penalty in the 19th minute. In the 21st minute, K-Electric’s star striker Mohammad Rasool squandered a penalty.
At half time, the match was evenly poised at 0-0.
KPT were again awarded a penalty in the 52nd minute by the referee Younis Lal and this time Zahid Ahmed made no mistake to put his side 1-0 up.
K-Electric bounced back strongly through a fine field effort from international striker Abdul Rehman in the 61st minute.
At this stage, a grueling fight was witnessed but it were KPT who scored the decisive goal through Zafar Majeed in the 84th minute to achieve a narrow win.
K-Electric’s captain Mohammad Essa blamed the referee for his team’s defeat. “It was poor refereeing which caused our loss,” Essa told this correspondent. “He not only awarded our rivals two penalties but on certain occasions did not show red cards to their players when they should have been sent off,” Essa complained.
“The PFF should appoint a couple of current FIFA referees from outside Karachi so that justice could be ensured,” Essa demanded.
NBP lost their second consecutive game when they went down against PIA, who came back from one goal down.
Maqbool put NBP ahead in the 38th minute before Mohammad Kamran levelled it for PIA through a header in the 44th minute.
At half time, it was 1-1.
The decision to introduce discarded international Shakir Lashari paid dividends for PIA as he smartly fed Zeeshan Ali in the end, who scored a fine goal to gift a well-deserved victory to his side.
NBP’s coach Nasir Ismail admitted that they were struggling. “The team is struggling. We will have to come out of the crisis quickly and the players will have to make a serious effort to score goals,” Nasir said.
“In the absence of Sher Ali and Farooq Shah we have our lone striker Mohammad Asif Sona who is struggling for form,” he said. “Once Asif gains form, we will start winning,” he said and added that their junior lot was physically not too strong. “Our young players, Muneer Ahmed, Maqbool and Adnan, are talented but they lack physical strength to execute properly while going for a charge,” Nasir said.
He complained that the pitch was not suitable to play on. “It was totally a bumpy pitch. Not only did the players have to face problems in ball control but the keepers also fumbled. And it was not possible to play with ground passes on the surface,” Nasir said.
PIA’s coach Shamim Khan was happy with the outcome. “Although we did not play well in the first half, in the second the boys put some pressure and that worked in the end,” Shamim said.