Domestic hockey made a return to the turf after 16 months as Abahani thrashed minnows Dhaka Wanderers Club by 8-0 goals in the opening fixture the UCBL Club Cup Hockey Tournament at the Mulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium yesterday to all but confirm the semifinal berth.
Abahani came into the match having won the Victory Day tournament two weeks ago and dominated the entire 70 minutes of the match against their opponents, who had only a week's preparation for the season's curtain-raising tournament as they had skipped the Victory Day tournament due to unavailability of their players.
The margin of win reflected the difference between the two sides but Abahani could hardly satisfy the sparse crowd as there was no rhythm in their play. However, Abahani's advisory coach Mahbub Harun defended his side by saying, “You won't find rhythm in play unless the opponents are close to your strength. Besides, I kept four key players off for most of the time and instructed the boys to refrain from scoring further after the margin was 8-0,” said the former national coach.
Abahani had to wait till 13 minutes to open their account when Moshiur Rahman Biplob ran down the right flank to cut back for Deen Islam, who found the target with a fierce hit before Khorshedur Rahman doubled the margin converting a penalty corner in the 19th minute.
Abahani kept their dominance to increase the lead through a field goal from Shoyeb Ali in the 24th minute before national striker Hasan Jubair Niloy widened the margin with a reverse-hit on the stroke of half time.
After resumption, Dhaka Wanderers Club conceded an own goal in between two strikes from Khorshed and Niloy while Ashraful Islam struck the team's eighth goal from a penalty stroke in the 55th minute.
“We came to play with seven or eight days of preparation and the players have no experience of playing against such big teams. But we are hopeful of playing better as the tournament progresses,” said Wanderers coach Fazlu.