KARACHI: A second-half hat-trick by Hassan Faiz saw Pakistan Navy to a 3-1 victory over Ashraf Sugar Mills (ASM) on Tuesday and into the quarter-finals of the NBP Challenge Cup underway in Lahore.

Navy went into their final Group ‘B’ match with two points and needed a win at the Faisal Town Football Ground to ensure their presence in the last eight of the country’s premier Cup football competition.

Hassan ensured that, scoring his first two goals in the space of 10 minutes after a goalless first half to put Navy 2-0 up by the 72nd minute. Azeem pulled one back for ASM with two minutes to play but Hassan fired in his third in stoppage time to seal Navy’s victory.

ASM, who have four points from their three matches, now face a nervous wait till Wednesday when the group’s other two teams Pakistan Army (two points) and Karachi Port Trust (one) collide.

Meanwhile Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) ensured they won Group ‘D’ ahead of K-Electric after playing a goalless draw with their arch-rivals at the Model Town Football Academy.

KRL finished on seven points, two ahead of K-Electric with Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) finishing in third place with four points after hammering Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL) 6-2 at the Railways Stadium.

SSGC, for whom Mohammad scored twice in their rout of SNGPL, needed K-Electric to lose against KRL to have any chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals.

KRL, K-Electric and Navy join Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and Wapda in the quarter-finals.

NBP qualified for the last eight with a 1-0 win over PIA in their final Group ‘A’ game on Monday while Wapda advanced following a 3-0 victory over Habib Bank Limited (HBL) in Group ‘C’.

Apart from the Army-KPT game, the last day of the group stage on Wednesday sees holders Pakistan Air Force (PAF) clash with Wapda and need a win to progress from Group ‘C’. HBL are also in contention as they are level with PAF heading into their clash against Pakistan Railways.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2015

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