Abahani salvage a draw | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 18, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 18, 2008

Abahani salvage a draw

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Abahani goalkeeper Zahid Hossain dives full-length to his left to thwart a Mohammedan attack during their Green Delta Insurance Premier Division Hockey League encounter at the Maulana Bhasani National Stadium yesterday.Photo: STAR

Abahani staged a spectacular second-half rally to share the spoils with their bitter rivals Mohammedan in a 3-3 draw in a crucial Green Delta Insurance Premier Division Hockey League encounter at the Maulana Bhasani National Stadium yesterday.
It was an entertaining match in front of a cheering crowd but the most refreshing aspect was that the two traditional foes' battle ended peacefully after their ill-tempered first meeting of the season last month. The last encounter of the two giants in the season's curtain raiser was marred by violence and had to be completed in two days.
Mohammedan, who lost that game in tie-breaker, looked the better side this time with a 3-1 cushion in the first-half with double strikes from Zahid Bin Talib and the other by veteran Isa Miah. But their ultra defensive approach in the second-half simply backfired.
Mamunur Rahman Chayan, the highest scorer in the Club Cup tournament, completed Abahani's second-half rally, scoring the third goal from a penalty corner in the 63rd minute. Moududur Rahman Shuvo and Imran Khan scored the other two goals for the Dhanmondi outfit.
Mohammedan coach Jahirul Islam Mitul admitted after the match that they allowed their opponents to put pressure on them in the last half an hour that denied them a victory.
"It's really frustrating that the match ended in a draw. We were totally disorganised in the last half an hour and were too much defensive which helped Abahani to take away the momentum from us. But I am happy because we played a clean and entertaining match today," said Jahirul.
Praising opponents goalkeeper Mehrab Hossain Kiron, Abahani coach Mahbub Harun expressed his satisfaction with the final outcome.
"Mohammedan put up a spirited display and I am happy that it was a real competitive match. The result could have been different if our striker Jimmy was not badly out of sorts today," said Mahbub.
Abahani started the match with great pace and got the first opportunity to take the lead but striker Rasel Mahmud Jimmy missed the sitter in the ninth minute.
Mohammedan however made no mistake to capitalise on their first opportunity with unmarked Zahid unleashing a powerful hit after receiving the ball from Asif-a-Noor to put the Motijheel outfit ahead in the 13th minute.
Pakistani forward Mohammad Modasser had a chance to equalise for holders Abahani after five minutes but Mohammedan goalkeeper Mehrab Hossain Kiron, who was brilliant under the bar, salvaged the black and whites with a superb save.
Zahid gave Mohammedan a 2-0 lead from a cleverly taken penalty corner that he first pushed forward only to have it back in the blink of an eye before firing home from an acute angle.
The double blow served as a wakeup call for Abahani, who bounced back in the 24th minute with Shuvo reducing the margin from the penalty corner. Mohammedan however were quick to retaliate when Isa sounded the board from a conventional penalty corner in the 30th minute.
After the breather, Abahani regrouped and changed their strategy to take control in the midfield and Pakistani Imran made it 3-2 in the 46th minute before Chayan broke the Mohammedan hearts with that stunning equaliser. The draw left Abahani at the top with 19 points while third-placed Mohammedan improved their tally to 17 points.
In the day's other match, Sonali Bank rode on Kirshna Kumar's hattrick to bounce back from a goal down to trounce Wari Club 5-1. The bankers led the first-half 2-1.
Krishna netted four goals and Iqbal Nader added the other for the winners while Farid scored for Wari.

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