Abahani finished runners-up in the Nitol Tata Bangladesh Premier League after a single-goal win over hosts Chittagong Abahani in their last match at the MA Aziz Stadium in Chittagong yesterday.
Right-back Atiqur Rahman Meshu struck the deceive goal in the 60th minute to help the four-time professional league championships notch their 14th win in 27 matches as well as finish second with 52 points, nine less than champions Sheikh Jamal DC who still have a match in hand.
However, despite the second-place finish, which is an improvement on the third-place finish in the last season, it has been Sky Blues' second barren season in a row. Like the previous season, Abahani failed to qualify for the final of Federation Cup and the Independence Cup, with their only chance of a silverware remaining in the Super Cup, which is expected to be held in October.
Abahani had their chances though to get back into the race as eventual champions Sheikh Jamal stumbled quite a few times, but they failed to gain the initiative, thanks to the mediocrity of the squad and less effectiveness of their aged foreign recruits under the Iranian coach Ali Akbar, who has delivered only one league title in three attempts.
Meanwhile, Team BJMC finished seventh after beating fifth-placed Brothers Union 2-1 in their last match at the the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday, with Samson Iliasu and Ismael Bangoura striking one goal apiece for BJMC while Rubel Mia pulling one goal back for Brothers. The eighth win in 27 matches took BJMC to 30 points while Brothers finished fifth with 38 points. Chittagong Abahani finished eighth with 25 points.