Title contenders Abahani joined leaders Sheikh Jamal in the Bangladesh Premier League with a 1-0 win over Team BJMC at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
A fourth-minute goal from midfielder Jamal Hossain was good enough for the Sky Blues to sit on the top of the table along with Sheikh Jamal with 13 points each from five outings. BJMC are fifth with six points from five matches.
While the margin may indicate it was a close fight between the two sides, it was rather a case of shambolic misfiring from forwards on both ends.
Both sides came into the match in high spirits from wins in their previous matches against Mohammedan and Uttar Baridhara Club respectively but they failed to carry on their previous feats. Abahani had the last laugh with an early goal, which was gifted by BJMC goalkeeper Arifuzzaman Himel.
“We did not perform well as maximum players were not mentally up to it after the match against Mohammedan. Maybe they are tired since playing frequent matches,” said Abahani Iranian coach Ali Akbar, who however praised the opponents for having shared the ball possession most of the time in the game.
BJMC could have taken the lead in the second minute had hitman Aminur Rahman Sajib not failed to beat Abahani goalkeeper Shahedul Alam Shohel in one-on-one situation before the former Brothers Union midfielder, Jamal, found the back of Team BJMC net with a harmless drive from outside the danger zone.
Abahani came close to doubling their lead in the 22nd minute when Osei Morison back-heeled Towhidul inside the box and the winger struck straight to BJMC keeper Himel while a glancing header from Sajib went inches over the crosspiece in the 27th minute.
Shohel again got lucky in the 36th minute as Sajib failed to connect a Bangoura low cross in front of the post.