KARACHI: Young-blooded Army were off to a fine start when they defeated Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) 1-0 in their Group G opener of the PFF National Challenge Cup here at the KPT Sports Complex on Monday.
Nisar Ahmed hit the winner on penalty in the 84th minute to gift three crucial points to Army.“Apart from defender Shehbaz and striker Ansar Abbas our whole team is new,” Army captain Jaffar Khan told ‘The News’.
“Most of them are just 18 or 19 years old. Our focus is to carry the same lot in the events to come and I am confident they will get better with time,” said affar, a former Pakistan captain.
GPA’s keeper Sanaullah did a fine job and saved five sure goals. “I always try to do my best for my team. This is my first tournament at this level and I am very excited,” Sana told this correspondent.
In the seventh minute, Sana prevented GPA from a blow when he acrobatically saved a fine move from the soldiers. In the 12th minute, GPA’s Pervez had to beat only Army’s keeper Jaffar but his slow push was smartly gathered by the keeper.
In the 39th minute, Army were close to taking the lead but GPA’s defence did well to foil the attempt. Just before half time, Army launched a solid attack but again Sana’s acrobatic save frustrated them.
After a barren first half, GPA created a solid opportunity in the 78th minute but Army’s defender timely blocked striker Pervez.Army took a sigh of relief when they got a penalty in the 84th minute and Nisar made no mistake from the spot and put his side in front.
Just before the whistle, Sana made a diving save on Ansar Abbas’ pile-driver.Army’s coach Amir Shehzad was happy with his team’s achievement.“Our youngsters played well. It was the first game and I hope a good start will help us in the event,” said Amir.
Amir, a former international defender, played four years for Pakistan team. He played in 2002 Asian Games, 2002 World Cup qualifiers, 2004 Olympic qualifiers and 2003 SAFF Championships.
“The real challenge before our youngsters will be the Premier League. We will try to continue our camp after this event,” Amir said.
In a Group C match at the All Brothers Club Ground, Malir, Police came from 0-2 down to hold strong Pakistan Air Force (PAF) 2-2.
Ali Reza put PAF ahead in the 23rd minute before international striker Mansoor Khan doubled their lead in the 27th minute.
At half time, PAF were leading 2-0. In the second half, Police fought back, scoring through Amir Shah and Sher Mohammad in the 74th and 77th minutes.
On Tuesday (today), K-Electric will face Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) here at the KPT Sports Complex. Five-time champions Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) will lock horns with Sindh Government Press (SGP) at All Brothers Club Ground, Malir.