LAHORE: Pakistan Navy and Wapda forced their way into the semifinals of 20th NBP National Football Challenge Cup.
Navy outclassed Pakistan Air Force (PAF) 7-6 after a penalty shoot-out following a 1-1 draw after extra time in the first quarter-final while Wapda, reduced to nine men, overpowered ten-man NBP 3-0 in the second quarter-final.
The clash between Navy and PAF provided free-flowing football even though neither team managed to score in the 90 minutes of normal time.
However, both teams managed to net in extra time. PAF broke the deadlock in the 117th minute through defender Muhammad Asif who scored off a set-piece to beat goal-keeper Ishaq Ahmed. But Navy went all out after falling behind and winger Asif Bakhsh equalised in the 120th minute to leave the PAF camp in despair. The winner was finally decided off the penalty shoot-out.
Red cards dominate
Three red cards were shown in the Wapda-NBP quarter-final in the first 45 minutes, two to eventual winners Wapda, which saw NBP lose 3-0.
Referee Jehangir Khan gave marching orders to Wapda’s Naveed Akram (16th minute) and Imran Niazi (45th minute) while NBP’s defender Yasir Sabir was shown a red card in the 43rd minute for a reckless challenge. Zulfiqar Ali Shah put Wapda ahead at the stroke of half-time and their lead was doubled in the 68th minute when Arif Mehmood drilled the ball past the goal-keeper Amir Gul.
Mehmood doubled his tally in the 84th minute to become the leading scorer of the tournament with five goals and seal his team’s progress.
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