A stoppage-time header from substitute Toklish Ahmed helped a full-strength Sheikh Jamal DC secure a 1-1 draw against nine-man Mohammedan SC in a feisty encounter of the Bangladesh Premier League at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
Midfielder Mezbabul Haque Manik gave Mohammedan SC a 60th-minute lead before Toklish struck in the penultimate minute of the seven minutes of added time to rescue high-flying Sheikh Jamal from their first defeat in five matches.
Despite dropping points for the first time, Federation Cup champions Sheikh Jamal are still on top of the table with 13 points while Mohammedan leapfrogged to fifth position with six points from five outings.
Fit-again Haitian Sony Norde, who was one of the architects behind Sheikh Jamal's Federation Cup triumph, was fielded for the first time in the league. Norde however played well below his Federation Cup level after his second-minute strike was ruled off-side.
Sheikh Jamal came into the match on the back of four straight wins and expectedly dominated the opponents, who had suffered a lone-goal defeat to archrivals Abahani in their previous match. The first half ended in a stalemate despite Sheikh Jamal creating three scoring chances in the first 25 minutes, with Mohammedan goalkeeper Titumir Chowdhury coming up with some brave saves.
Mohammedan launched sporadic attacks and a handball claim inside Sheikh Jamal's danger zone was rejected by referee Hannan Miron. However, Mohammedan took the lead in the 60th minute when Manik drove home a powerful shot on a Zahid Hossain corner from outside the box.
The Black and Whites tried to keep their lead intact with tight defence but they could not deal with the mounting pressure and conceded two red cards within eight minutes to be reduced to nine men.
Cameroon defender Baybeck picked up his second yellow card after recklessly tackling Sony Norde in the 74th minute. Zahid Hossain was then given a straight red card in the 82nd minute as he charged Sheikh Jamal's midfielder Shohel Rana from behind.
Fourth official Jasimuddin added seven minutes of extra time and Sheikh Jamal seized the opportunity when Tokhlish, who came in place of defender Linkon in the 80th minute, headed a Raihan Hasan cross home from close range to secure a point.
Mohammedan coach Capela blamed the referee for the result as he sent off two Mohammedan players.
“There were three teams in the field and of them, two (Sheikh Jamal and Mohammedan) were good and another (the referee) was bad,” Capela said. “We had a good strategy to protect our own territory first and then launch an attack to secure the full three points but it was difficult with nine men.”
After the match, Mohammedan players had rushed to referee Hannan Miron to protest his decisions before police escorted Miron to safety. Miron however could not avoid the fury of Mohammedan supporters, who pushed and kicked him even amid the police escort. Later, police beat up a supporter mercilessly.