Army, SA Gardens off to winning starts in Challenge Cup.

KARACHI -- Two goals in the space of eight second-half minutes helped Pakistan Army get their National Challenge Cup campaign off to a winning start on Wednesday.

SA Gardens got their three goals in the second half to also make a winning start as three other matches ended in draws.

Army won the last of their three Challenge Cup titles in 2019, when it was held by a Pakistan Football Federation setup which was recognised by the Supreme Court but not FIFA.

The tournament was last held in 2020 but it has now returned under the FIFA-appointed PFF Normalisation Committee with only departmental teams taking part and the 27 sides having been divided into seven groups across seven centres.

Army moved behind Khan Research Laboratories on goal difference at the top of the Group 'F' after their 2-0 win over Muslim Hands at the Rawalpindi Municipal Stadium.

Afzaal opened the scoring in the 64th minute and Qadeer Hussain sealed the points in the 72nd against Muslim Hands, the Pakistan wing of the international NGO that has made a football team here.

SA Gardens, backed by a Lahore-based housing society by the same name, beat Saif Textile Mills 3-0 at home with goals from Shakeel Ahmed (48th), Umair Shabbir (72nd) and Murtaza (88th) to go top of Group...

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