By Faizan Liaquat
After very disappointing performance against SNGPL, KE made a stunning comeback in the quarter final of 1st NBP President Cup 2017 against Karachi United as they demolished them with a score line of 4-1 and qualified for the semifinal where they will face KRL.
KE who have big names in their squad failed to perform with the expectations of their fans in the round matches as they secured a very narrow win against PIA and lost the game against SNGPL on penalties.
So a big performance was required from them in this match and they responded very efficiently. On the other side Karachi United who finished first in their group came to play with their heads up and was pretty confident before the game that they are going to make it to the semis of this tournament.
In the 1st half of the game both teams tried to keep the possession and tried to attack from the wings. But both sides failed to make any dangerous attempt in the first half so the score line remains 0-0 after 45 minutes. From very 1st game of KE they struggled a lot in their first half but whenever Essa Khan comes they looked a brand new side and the same thing happened again today when Essa arrived in the second half he with his first touch helped KE to get 1-0 up against KU when he finds Mehmood Khan in 18 yard box on right side from where Mehmood grab the opportunity and broke the dead lock. It was Essa Khan’s third assist of the tournament.
Essa Khan (KE)
“Players needs some time to adjust, we are playing football together after very long time. Yes, we lacked some intensity in first half but once we find our tempo everybody saw once again today what we can do in space of 45 minutes.”
“I will only play if my team needs me otherwise it’s time for youngster to get maximum playing time.” Told footballpakistan.com when ask about the start in the semifinal.
After the first goal KE looked very sharp and played more effectively. The second goal of KE was a team goal, the move started from the keeper who with his long shoot finds Rasool in the middle who tried to find Riaz on right hand side and succeeded when he (Rasool) made an excellent run breaking the defensive line who in the end found Kaleemullah who with his right foot scored the goal when ball ended up in left side of the far post and the score line become 2-0 after 57th minute of the game.
“I still think that I am not in my full rhythm, we didn’t get enough time to prepare for this tournament and I am playing after a very long in Pakistan. Everything is so difficult here as compare to America”
Karachi United after conceding the second goal made a decent come back as their CM Nauman scored a long range goal and keeper of KE stood like he was doing a mannequin challenge.
But in 70th minute of the game Kaleemullah scored his third goal of the tournament as heading in the ball which came from Riaz.
“Well now I think we got our magic back for which we our known. We made some brilliant come back in the round matches, unlucky we didn’t won against SNGPL but we showed complete domination in 2nd half against SNGPL. In semifinal crowd will see a Karachi Electric who will fight from 1st minute of the game”
“Arrival of Essa Khan changes everything for us because he completely control the mid field for us so we (Rasool, Kaleemullah and me) got the license to go for attack and that’s why we scored more in 2nd half in this competition.”
“It’s totally his (Essa) decision if he wanted to start the game then I am sure coach and manager going to allow him to start because we all saw in last 3 games that Essa can bring so many things after his arrival.” Told footballpakistan.com when asked about whether manager will go with Essa Khan from the start in semifinal or not.
The final goal of the game scored by the top scorer of the tournament Muhammad Rasool who beats the goal keeper 1v1 and scored his 5th goal of the competition.
“I am happy that I am currently the top scorer of this tournament and I want to continue this scoring rate so I can help my team.”
This defeat ended a very brave run of Karachi United in this tournament who looked very promising from the start of this competition, they have a very talented young squad who definitely going to do something magical in future for KU.
“ It will be a very emotional game for me because I played for KRL in past and won so much with them. KRL is still in my heart and I have so much Respect for them”
1st Semi Final will be played Between Karachi Electric and Khan Research Laboratories 26th January 14:30 PST.