LAHORE: The 2020 PFF National Football Challenge Cup reached the end of its group stage on Day 10 witnessing six matches at Punjab Stadium and Fame FC Ground in Lahore on Wednesday, 9 December.
WAPDA, Pakistan Navy, SA Farms, Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC), SA Gardens, Pakistan Air Force (PAF), and Hazara Coal Company reached the Round of 16 (pre-quarterfinals) via their group positions.
They join the likes of Pakistan Army, Higher Education Commission (HEC), National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Falcon Company, Karachi United, Khan Research Laboratories (KRL), Karachi Port Trust (KPT), Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA), and Afghan FC Chaman in next round.
In Group E’s 10am fixtures, WAPDA found form to thrash Asia Ghee Mills 4-1 while Navy edged SA Farms 1-0.
At Punjab Stadium, Asia Ghee Mills took the lead through Asim Ahsan (47′) early in the second half but WAPDA came back strongly in the final 20 minutes as braces from Zubair Qadeer (73′ and 75′) and Ashfaquddin (80′ and 85′) to top Group E with 5 points.
At Fame FC Ground, Navy captain Naveed Ahmed (47′) headed in the only goal of the game against SA Farms to make Navy finish above SA Farms on head-to-head result in 2nd place.
Both teams finished on 4 points each, but SA Farms managed to reach next round due to being second best 3rd place team in tournament after Group B’s Karachi United that also finished 3rd but with 6 points.
In Group F’s 1230pm kickoffs, SSGC beat SA Gardens 3-1 while Wohaib FC and Masha United played a dull 0-0 draw.
SSGC raced to a three-goal lead thanks to a brace from Saadullah (8′ and 27′) and a goal from Saddam Hussain (10′) before SA Gardens’ Essa Bahader made it 3-1 just before half time at Punjab Stadium.
The score remained 3-1 in favour of SSGC in 2nd half as they confirmed their top spot with 9 points while SA Gardens also qualified for next round as runners-up.
Wohaib FC finished 3rd with 2 points, while Masha United’s first ever National Challenge Cup campaign ended in disaster under new coach Nasir Ismail, getting just 1 point and finishing bottom of Group F.
In Group G’s 4:30pm kickoffs, PAF and Hazara Coal Company played an entertaining 2-2 draw while SNGPL and NIMSO also drew 1-1.
At Punjab Stadium, PAF scored early via an unfortunate HCC own-goal before HCC fought back through Qurban Ali (40′) and Javed (45+2′) to lead 2-1 at half time.
Faisal (52′) struck for PAF in second half to equalise but the game finished all square at 2-2. PAF won the group with 7 points while HCC finished 2nd on 5 points to also qualify for next round.
The last game at Fame FC Ground saw SNGPL again squander their chances with Sada Bahar (12′) early strike being equalized late in the game by Jamshed Ahmed (86′) to share the spoils.
The result meant NIMSO, a social welfare organization of Quetta’s Hazara community, finished 3rd on 2 points while SNGPL finished bottom with 1 point.
The Round of 16 also begins tomorrow, Thursday 10 December with the schedule as follows:
Army vs Falcon Company – 10am
KRL vs Afghan FC Chaman – 1:30pm
WAPDA vs Karachi United – 10am
Hazara Coal Company vs SA Gardens – 1:30pm
NBP vs HEC – 10am
PCAA vs KPT – 1:30pm
Navy vs SSGC – 10am
PAF vs SA Farms – 1:30pm