KARACHI: Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) leaders Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) lost their unbeaten record this season when they were edged 1-0 by a solid Muslim FC side on Monday as Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) climbed to third spot.
Muslim FC moved a point behind KESC who recorded a thumping 5-0 victory over Wohaib FC to move ahead of Pakistan Army on goal difference with both teams level on points but they are still ten behind defending champions KRL.
Despite their first loss this season KRL have 61 points with Pakistan Air Force (PAF) their closest competitors on 53. KESC and Army are two points behind PAF with fifth-placed Muslim FC having 50 points.
KRL were undone by a brilliant performance in goal by Wazir Mohammad at the Government High School ground in Chaman where Muslim FC fans poured in numbers to back their side.
KRL coach Tariq Lutfi praised Muslim FC for their performance but blamed a vociferous crowd and shoddy playing conditions for their defeat.
“The playing conditions were terrible,” Lutfi told Dawn. “It is a muddy ground here in Chaman and there is a lot of difficulty in controlling the ball.
“The crowd was very vocal and that put a lot of pressure on my players. The crowd was so packed that I didn’t even have space to walk around in the technical area.
“They don’t want their team to lose and its good for football but it puts a lot of pressure on the referee and at times his security is at stake.”
Muslim FC’s winner came in the 43rd minute when Mohammad Dawood got in the penalty box before he placed a deft shot past the KRL goalkeeper. KRL tried to get back in the game and created many second-half chances but Wazir was too much of a barrier for them to breach.
Following three 4-0 defeats, bottom side Wohaib FC were at the end of another thrashing at the hands of KESC for whom ace striker Mohammad Rasool scored a hat-trick here at the KPT Football Stadium.
KESC didn’t take long to take the lead and in the fourth minute, a well-worked move saw Rasool in the penaly box and he made no mistake in slotting it past the goalkeeper.
Goals by Abdul Salaam in the 25th and Abdul Rehman in the 51st put KESC in cruise control before Rasool struck twice near the end to make the margin of victory even more flattering for his side.
Wohaib FC stay rooted to the bottom with eight points with their hopes of staying in the PPFL hanging only by a thread. They need to win each of their remaining six fixtures and hope results go their way in the fixtures involving other struggling teams to have any chance of avoiding the drop.
That, however, did not happen on Monday as PMC Athletico moved a point clear of the relegation zone after an inspired show by their shot-stopper Basit Ghafoor helped them keep HBL to a goalless stalemate here at the People’s Sport Complex.
Fourth-bottom HBL have 24 points with PMC on 21. ZTBL are second from bottom with 20 points.
Tuesday’s fixture: KPT v ZTBL (KPT Football Stadium, Karachi).