Khalsa beat Club 3-2 to top standings at halfway stage
Harry Bal Singh and Ishtiaq Ahmed knock in a goal each in the first eight minutes leaving hosts reeling
Two goals from Harry Bal Singh and one from Ishtiaq Ahmed propelled Khalsa to a 3-2 win over Hong Kong Football Club yesterday, taking them to the top of the league standings as the Premier Division reached the halfway stage.
Khalsa, caught in the centre of controversy earlier this season when one of their players was banned for a rude gesture at fans leading to a pitch invasion, will begin the next half of the season tied on points with arch-rivals Punjab, who defeated Elite 8-2 yesterday.
Both teams are unbeaten this season with Khalsa in front because of a better goal difference.
Yesterday's reversal was Club's first loss this season and they trail the top two by one point. The 12-team league now splits into two divisions of six teams carrying their points into the second stage.
"It is very disappointing that we lost our unbeaten tag, but there is still everything to play for. The league title will come down to a race between us three teams and it is going to be pretty intense," said Club captain Kieran Smith.
It was indeed intense as the action ebbed and flowed around the two Ds yesterday in an entertaining game. Khalsa held their nerve to ward off a spirited comeback from the Sports Road team who trailed 2-0 before some of the large crowd had even settled down in their seats.
Ahmed and Singh knocked in two goals within the first eight minutes to leave the home team reeling, but they fought back through an own goal and a second from Yan Adams to draw level by half-time. But Singh's second goal midway through the second half settled the result.
"It is always difficult coming to Hong Kong Football Club and winning, so getting this win is an extraordinary result for us," said Khalsa manager Gurucharan Singh. "This victory will boost our confidence as we look to the second half of the season. But as we have seen this season, anything can happen."