by Alam Zeb Safi
KARACHI: Defender Mohammad Shahid’s stoppage time goal on penalty enabled leaders Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) to beat Chaman’s Muslim FC 2-1 in their Pakistan Premier Football League match, which was marred by an unruly crowd who attacked referee Ahmed Rauf, here at Korangi Baloch Football Ground on Sunday.
Soon after the final whistle, Muslim FC’s supporters attacked referee Ahmed Rauf. An eyewitness said that he was protected by the organisers. “They were furious at the referee for sending off their player Hanif for double booking in the second half. But the situation was controlled by the organisers. Ahmed remained unhurt,” the source told ‘The News’.
This correspondent learnt that Muslim FC management denied their club’s involvement in the episode. Another source said that Muslim FC management said that they were students of a nearby madressah and not their supporters.
The match commissioner Iqbal Junior was preparing a report which would be forwarded to the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF). Umair Ali put KRL ahead in the 12th minute. Muslim FC fought back strongly, scoring an equaliser through Abdullah who hit from the spot in the 28th minute. At half time the match was evenly poised at 1-1.
In the second half, a close fight was witnessed with each side making concerted efforts to get the upper hand. KRL’s efforts paid off when Shahid hit the winner for KRL on penalty just before the final whistle.
The outcome enabled KRL to take their points tally to 32 from 15 matches. They are three points clear of the second-placed Pakistan Air Force (PAF).The loss left Muslim FC struggling at 15 points from the same number of matches.
In the other game at the same venue, National Football Challenge Cup reigning champions PAF came from one goal down to beat former four-time Premier League champions WAPDA 2-1 to stretch their points to 30 after 15 appearances.
Discarded international defender Mohammad Ahmed provided lead to WAPDA in the sixth minute. WAPDA kept the lead till interval. The second half belonged to PAF who struck twice, through international striker Mansoor Khan and Faisal, who landed goals in the 77th and 88th minutes, respectively, to seal a sensational win for their side. The loss left WAPDA at 26 points from 15 encounters.
At KMC Stadium, Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) held former two-time champions Army to a goalless draw.SSGC have 26 points from 15 matches. Army have 25 from 15.
At KPT Stadium, National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) laboured hard to beat Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) 3-2 to take their points to 20 from 15 matches.Mohammad Waheed provided lead to PCAA in the 32nd minute.
Only two minutes later, Muneer Ahmed Junior levelled the score for NBP. Maqbool, who missed several goals in the previous games, put NBP ahead through a clinical strike in the 44th minute. At half time NBP were leading 2-1.
Ten minutes into the second half, Akmal Shehzad stretched NBP’s lead before Mohammad Naseem hit one back for PCAA to reduce the deficit to 2-3.The loss left PCAA gasping at 15 points after 15 appearances.
On Monday (today), Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) will lock horns with Navy here at Korangi Baloch Football Ground in Sharafi Goth.