Mohammedan bagged three crucial points when they handed archrivals Abahani a single-goal defeat in their Nitol Tata Bangladesh Premier League match at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
Striker Wahed Ahmed struck the all-important goal three minutes before the break to provide his side their second successive win over their archrivals, after the 1-0 win in the semifinal of the Independence Cup last month. The win also brought back the Black and Whites in the title race as they consolidated their position in third with 23 points, just two behind Abahani and eight adrift of leaders Sheikh Jamal DC.
However, it was the Sky Blues who put on a commanding performance right from the word go and yielded at least three scoring chances within the first 10 minutes but midfielder Shahedul Alam and Portuguese winger Leonildo Suares incredibly squandered those opportunities.
Shahed's effort in the third minute floated over the crosspiece while seven minutes later, Suares saw his diving header sail over. Abahani kept on pressing and the Mohammedan backline seemed to be in trouble with tall defender Obam Henry playing in unusual defensive midfielder's role. Abahani once again came close to taking the lead again in the 14th minute when Suares put a nice low cross from the right flank but defender Arup Kumar's timely intervention meant Mohammedan remained unscathed.
The Black and Whites, who adopted a counter-attacking strategy in absence of two key players -- Zahid Hossain and Damien Chigozie -- however went close twice but were denied by the Abahani backline.
However, the scenario changed completely in the 42nd minute when Wahed struck his third goal in three successive matches with a well-judged chip. The 21-year-old striker received a lob from Portuguese forward Hardy Pinto and entered the box before dinking it over the advancing Abahani goalkeeper Shahidul Alam, who got a faint touch on the ball but could not stop it from ending at the back of the net.
After conceding the lead, Abahani broke down and could hardly produce any chances. On the contrary, Mohammedan looked the stronger side and defended their lead manfully. Mohammedan's Portuguese coach Jose Rui Rui Capela sent on defender Nahidul Islam in place of winger Towhidul Alam Sabuz, and the fortified backline held on for three valuable points.