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Abdullah hits brace to push PPL into Challenge Cup semis

By Our Correspondent
May 04, 2018

KARACHI: Abdullah hit a fine brace to put debutants Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) in the semi-finals when they routed Ashraf Sugar Mills (ASM) FC 3-0 in the first quarter-final of the PFF National Challenge Cup here at the KPT Sports Complex on Thursday.

Abdullah was also joined on the score-sheet by captain Nazir Ahmed.“It was too hot but thanks God the boys played against all odds and sealed a convincing win,” PPL assistant coach Zahid Hameed told ‘The News’.

Zahid said they took the game away from the opponents in the very beginning. “We struck twice in the initial few minutes and took the game away from our rivals. They got a chance near the end but failed to reduce their deficit,” he said.

Zahid was Pakistan’s Olympic side captain when it won its first round against Singapore in the Olympic qualifiers a decade ago under coach Mohammad Rasheed, who recently retired from Pakistan Railways.

Zahid said that he was confident that his boys would do their best in the semi-finals also. “We have a young side and all the boys are committed and hopefully the result in semi-finals will also be in our favour,” he said.

In simmering heat, Abdullah put PPL ahead in the fourth minute. Nazir doubled the lead with a fine strike in the 11th minute.

At half time, PPL were leading 2-0. After the breather, both sides seemed exhausted because of severe heat as the mercury touched 43 degree. PPL were able to inflate their tally, however, when Abdullah completed his brace in the 70th minute.

PPL team has been recently formed from among the boys who played well in the PPL Balochistan Cup.ASM were found lacking in defence which caused their ouster from the 24-team event being held after a gap of three years.

ASM FC is owned by former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf.Adnan Anjum supervised the match, while Arslaan Sharif and Muzammil served as his assistants. Abdul Baqi was the fourth official. Ahmed Ali served as match commissioner and Iqbal Junior as referees assessor. In another quarter-final, Navy will face four-time Premier League winners WAPDA at the same venue on Friday (today). The match starts at 4pm.