Spirited and super-fit Pakistan Army stunned Pakistan Premier League Champion KRL on a sudden death penalty shoot-out in a thrilling semi-final and moved to the grand final of the 28th National Challenge Football Cup being played here at Tehmas Khan Football Stadium on Saturday. SSP Operation Zahoor Babar Afridi was the chief guest on this occasion and before the start of the final the players of both Pakistan Army and KRL were introduced to him. Senior Vice President Pakistan Football Federation and former health minister KP Syed Zahir Ali Shah, Organizing Secretary Basit Kamal, Chief Commissioner Qazi Afridi, former Pakistan team skipper Gohar Zaman, officials, players and large number of spectators witnessed the thrill-packed match. What a play exhibited by Pakistan Army against star-studded KRL in the 120 minute semi-final match.
The two teams failed to score in the stipulated 90-minute despite some many inroads and after awarding 30-minute extra-time none of the team could score any goal. Thus to get certain result both were awarded penalty kicks and on this in a sudden death battle Pakistan Army marched into victory at 3-1.
The match started on fast tempo and KRL raided first with a superb move but the attempt of Umair Ali, the center striker, failed to convert the ball due to poor kick just in front of the goal-mouth. This was a good efforts of Zaid Umar, the right winger who dodged two defenders and gave a free ball to Umair Ali but he failed to score due to poor finishing.
On the other hands, Army in the counter attack made a goal-fetching move through Ansar Abbas in the 13th minute but the left foot attempt of Zill, the promising score, failed to score and he saw his attempt went wide from the goal-post. After a see saw battle, the first-half was ended a goal-less draw despite both Army and KRL have goal-scoring chances but their forwards were failed due to poor finishing.
It was the second session in which KRL got two easy goal scoring chances through left winger Muhammad Imran and inner striker Zeeshan Siddique but both failed to score any goal. In the 77th minute Pakistan Army got a golden opportunity when Ansar Abbas Junior travelled past three defenders and gave a free ball to unmarked Zill Husnain Junior who dodged the onrushing KRL goal-keeper but he failed to score despite having empty goal-post.
The pressure mounted on each team and they made some good rallies of attacks but till the end of the 90-minute play, none of the team could score any goal. Both awarded 30-minute extra-time but none of them could score any goal.
Thus on awarded five each penalty shoot-out KRL failed to score on four attempts and just availed one while Pakistan Army scored on three attempts and missed two. Thus Pakistan Army won the semi-final match by 3-1. Arshad Ullah supervised the match while Zeeshan, Alliuddin assisted him.—APP