By Faizan Liaquat
Rasool’s hat-trick was not enough for KE to finish as a group leader. After conceding three goals in first 65 minutes of the match against 2nd division side SNGPL, KE tried to make a shocking comeback in a high scoring game but unable to do that as they lost the game on Penalties.
Sunday 22nd January was the last day of round matches. First game was played between the reigning champion of Pakistan Premier League K-Electric and SNGPL who is in 2nd division. Both the teams already qualified for the quarter finals of this tournament but this match going to decide who will finish on the top spot of group C.
K-Electric who was playing without their first choice CDM Saddam Hussain struggled in defense during whole 90 minutes. SNGPL who looked promising in their first game of this tournament against PIA where they won 2-1 continued their auspicious run as they scored 3 goals in first 65 minutes of the game. SNGPL totally outclassed KE in first half as they took early lead when their defender scored on a corner as Jahangir Khan goal keeper of KE tried to catch the ball and he misjudged the cross and Shehzad Mehmood seize the occasion and scored his first goal of the tournament.
KE just afore the half time got a penalty which was missed by Muhammad Rasool. Experienced Rasool who is also the captain of KE scored the penalty in dying moments of the game against PIA took this one very poorly as Khalid Mehmood keeper of SNGPL judge the direction perfectly and the ball touches his fingers before hitting the post.
Coach Hassan Baloch of KE realized that his team is lacking in mid fielder so he sub veteran Essa Khan in after the first half. The arrival of Essa Khan totally changed the dynamics of the game as he controlled the game in second half for KE. SNGPL regardless of scoring one more goals in second half couldn’t won the game easily as Muhammad Rasool scored a beautiful hat-trick for his side and helped them from complete humiliation against second division side.
Rasool came back strongly as he scored his first goal in 70th minute of the game when he broke the defensive line of SNGPL with his run. Riaz who was playing on right wing received the ball from Essa Khan and he just passes the ball to Rasool who did the remaining work to help his side to pull one back.
Kaleemullah who was also playing for KE from the beginning of the match looked off colored against SNGPL, it seemed that he was trying to save himself and trying not to get injured.
KE scored their second goal in 80th minute of the game when Jalil made a decent interception and passes the ball to Essa who once again succeeded to find Riaz who discovery Rasool in the dangerous area from where he guided the ball to the far post.
After the 2nd goal most of the people in ground thought that KE can snatch this game from SNGPL right after 10 minutes from second goal in first additional minute Rasool completed his hat-trick when he beats the goal keeper 1v1 to the bottom left corner.
In final additional minute of the game Riaz missed an easy chance which could complete their comeback as he missed an open herder which goes over the bar.
After this result both KE and SNGPL secured one point each from this game but for a group leader the organizing committee decided to go for penalties. SNGPL won the game with 9-8 when Hayatullah of KE missed his penalty kick.
Muhammad Rasool (Captain of KE)
“I am happy that my team fought till the end and never gave up. Yes, I am disappointed that I couldn’t converter the chance in the 1st half.”
Khaled Khan (Coach of SNGPL)
“We should have won this game earlier but I am happy with the performance of this team as it was not easy for us to play against the Defender champions of PPL Karachi Electric. No one assumed at the start of the tournament that we would arise as the leader of this group who have PIA and KE but with the hard work we have done something who looked impossible at the start”
Essa Khan (Assisting manager KE)
“We looked below average in the first half and lost possession many times which cost us a lot. But I am pleased that we fought till the end and tried to make a comeback. I hope the crowd relished this EPIC encounter”