Karachi, 12 January 2019: The 12th Pakistan Premier Football League 2018 season ended for four other teams yesterday at the KPT Stadium and KMC Stadium in Karachi.
Ever-improving Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) edged former winners Pakistan Army 1-0 thanks to a solitary goal by Umer Younis.
PCAA finished a respectable 7th in their inaugural PPFL season with 39 points from 26 games with their young goal-scoring hero Naeem Hussain ending his debut season with 13 goals and being 2nd best in list alongside PAF skipper Muhammad Mujahid.
Army, led by dynamic midfielder Ansar Abbas, finished 4th with 46 points. Ansar is also the current top scorer with 15 goals in this league season, though he came close a few times to increase his lead.
In the other game at KPT Stadium, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd (SNGPL) came from 1-0 down at half time to salvage a draw against the already relegated home side Karachi Port Trust (KPT).
Zubair gave KPT the lead just before half time, before former DFA Panjgur hero Abdullah came on as a late substitute to equalise in 83rd minute for SNGPL. The Lahore-based team finished the game with 10-men as their midfielder Touseef Ahmed was sent off for a straight red card in 87th minute which KPT failed to capitalise.
The results leave the already safe SNGPL in 12th place with 23 points from their 26 games, 5 above the relegated KPT who lie 13th. SNGPL’s debut season saw them have an astonishing 14 drawn games and only 3 wins as poor finishing and misfortune proved their bane in securing more points.
KPT, however, ended their 12 season stay in PPFL on a disappointing note as they join Baloch FC Nushki, Ashraf Sugar Mills, and nine-time former national champions Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in the second division PFF League 2019. Ashraf Sugar Mills and PIA both had withdrawn from the PPFL citing financial troubles.
With all other teams already finishing their respective 26 matches quota, all eyes will be set on the final game of the season between title chasers Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) and Khan Research Labs (KRL) on 13 January at the KPT Stadium with a 2:30 PM Sunday kickoff.
PAF will also be watching the result of the SSGC-KRL clash as a draw or a narrow KRL win means PAF will secure their first ever PPFL title as well as league and cup Double having also won the National Football Challenge Cup in May 2018.
An SSGC win by any margin would give the league debutants – coached by Tariq Lutfi and a squad containing many Pakistan team stars poached from other departments – would secure them the title.
KRL, though, would need to win big by at least 4 clear goals if they have any chance of recovering from a slump in form that relinquished their top spot in recent weeks and win the title.
Whoever is crowned the champions will have to make do with a denial of a 2019 AFC Cup qualification spot due to AFC deeming no Pakistan Premier League team meeting its club licensing criteria.
Match Report by FPDC staff.