KARACHI: A solitary goal by KRL striker Mohammad Ahmed was enough to see his side down NBP 1-0 in the final and clinch the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Cup at the Punjab Stadium in Lahore on Monday.
KRL had entered the tournament looking to regain their status as the best team in Pakistan and Ahmed’s strike in the 75th minute ensured they realised that dream and KRL manager Ayaz Butt was delighted at the way his inexperienced side played against a strong NBP.
“This was a testing tournament for us,” Butt told The Express Tribune. “We performed well with an inexperienced side as we had seven new faces in the team for the tournament. I’m happy with the performance, and I must praise NBP for giving us a tough time.”
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Butt also praised the impact of senior player Mohammad Adil, who was part of the team which was crowned the Pakistan Premier Football League champions in 2014, and hailed goalscorer Ahmed.
“I feel Adil and Ahmed played a crucial role in keeping the team together. Their experience and composure in the final third gave us an edge over our opponents in the game,” he added.
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NBP coach Nasir Ismail defended his team’s performance while admitting that the better side won. “I’m happy with my team’s performance. They did everything they can and only lost out due to a single goal,” said Ismail. “The better team won.”
Ismail, meanwhile, rued the management’s decision to award the best player and best goalkeeper award to PAF’s Mansoor Khan and KRL’s Saqib Hanif.
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“I’m disappointed with their decision to give the best-player award to Mansoor. They should have given it to someone from the two finalists,” said Ismail. “Also [NBP goalkeeper] Mohammad Umer conceded only one goal throughout the tournament, while Hanif conceded two. So I don’t know why Umer wasn’t given the trophy.”
KRL bagged Rs300,000 as prize-money, while NBP pocketed Rs200,000.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2016.
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