A scintillating performance from Haitian Sony Norde helped Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club overcome the hurdles of Mohammedan Sporting Club with an easy 3-0 win in the Nitol Tata Bangladesh Premier League at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
Inspirational Sony first provided a lead to Sheikh Jamal before feeding both goals for Nigerian hitman Emeka Darlington, who kept up his goal-spree to top the score-list with 14 goals from as many matches.
The tenth win in 14 matches means Sheikh Jamal extended their lead to 34, six points ahead of second-placed Abahani, who beat Team BJMC 2-1 in the third match of the day, thanks to one goal apiece from Portuguese Leonildo Suares and Shahedul Alam while Ismael Bangoura pulled one back for BJMC.
Mohammedan stuck to their previous third position with 23 points from 14 matches.
Despite dazzling shows against Kolkata Mohammedan in the IFA Shield, Sony's form significantly dipped since then, apparently because he was not focused on the games following attractive offers from different Indian clubs; but he finally shrugged off his poor performance to shine in a match which was very important for Sheikh Jamal in the title race.
"Actually I have always been in fear of picking up injury as some of the opponent players try to tackle me maliciously," said Sony. "Now Sheikh Jamal's win is important to me and I want to make my club champions in the league.
"I was focused on the match against Mohammedan and had hard training yesterday," said Sony. "Yes, I could not score much [3 goals] in the league but I had assisted at least 10 goals for my team."
Sony's Haitian partner Wedson Anselme and Emeka also played well to tear apart the Mohammedan backline several times and they should have taken a 2-0 lead within the first five minutes.
But, they did not waste much time to go ahead, thanks to a stunning run from Sony down the left to beat two defenders to latch a powerful low shot on the edge of the box to beat Mohammedan goalkeeper Titumir Chowdhury.
Afterwards, Sony whipped a nice cross from the left for Wedson, who set up Emeka to tap in open net to double the margin in the 22nd minute while Sony entered the box from the left to dance past two defenders, but his shot to the far post went narrowly wide, much to the relief for Mohammedan, in the 38th minute.
After resumption, Sheikh Jamal kept on the momentum to step up on attacks and Wedson again squandered another chance two minutes into the second half and then Mohammedan survived conceding an own goal, thanks to a denial by the post in the 51st minute.
Sheikh Jamal sealed their seventh victory over Mohammedan in the league when Emeka slid onto a low cross from Sony in the 61st minute and the Black and Whites had to end the match with 10 men after substitute Hemanta Vincent was given the marching order in the stoppage time of the second half.
Away at the MA Aziz Stadium, hosts Chittagong Abahani played out a goalless draw against visiting Feni Soccer Club.