Sheikh Russel winger Shakil Ahmed (C) is the toast of his teammates after his goal gave them the lead in their Bangladesh Premier League match against Feni Soccer Club at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday. PHOTO: STAR
Holders Sheikh Russel KC returned to winning ways in the Bangladesh Premier League when last season's treble-winners notched a 2-0 win over Feni Soccer Club at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
After the barren first half, fit-again winger Shakil Ahmed and Moroccan hitman Youness Roux scored one goal apiece to help Sheikh Russel join leaders Sheikh Jamal DC on nine points, but the latter have played a match less than Sheikh Russel's four.
Coming into the match on the back of a disappointing 1-0 loss to Brothers Union, Sheikh Russel put up a much-improved performance with their unconventional formation of 3-3-1-3. The formation helped them establish control of the midfield like in the previous match and they found the back of the opponent's net as early as the fifth minute but the strike from Roux was ruled off-side and the goal disallowed.
Sheikh Russel however maintained their dominance over lowly Feni Soccer and created two more scoring chances but on both occasions Roux failed to convert from inside the danger zone as they were forced to end the first half on a stalemate.
After resumption, Sheikh Russel stepped up the attack against Feni, who had all but one of their men playing defence, and succeeded in breaking the backline in the 78th minute when Mithun Chowdhury, the hat-trick man in the league's first match, ran down the right flank to whip a well-judged cross for Shakil -- back after missing two matches due to injury -- who headed it home from point blank distance.
It was again Mithun, playing behind three forwards, who fed Roux inside the danger zone from the right and the Moroccan striker tapped it into the open post to ensure Sheikh Russel's third win in four matches.
“We needed this victory before our next match against Federation Cup runners-up Muktijoddha Sangsad and I think the win will boost the boys in the next match,” said Sheikh Russel coach Maruful Haque.
Maruful said that the match was difficult for them as the opponents played ultra-defensively and stuck to their own half but that the boys overcame the hurdle after implementing his strategy on the pitch properly.