Four-time champions Abahani stumbled in their second match of the Bangladesh Premier League, playing out a goalless draw against Feni Soccer Club at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
The first draw in two matches meant Abahani are in second position with four points, two points behind joint leaders Sheikh Russel KC and Sheikh Jamal DC.
Abahani came into the game on the back of a hard-fought 1-0 win over Brothers Union and the Dhanmondi-based outfit could hardly improve on that performance, thanks to misfiring from striking duo Nigerian Osei Morison and long-serving Ghanaian Awudu Ibrahim, and had to be content with a single point.
The Sky Blues initially showed signs of an improved performance with Ibrahim blasting a set-piece to the side net on the edge of the danger area in the very third minute but they failed to keep up the initial momentum in front of a few hundred spectators under floodlights.
The inclusion of Ibrahim in the starting eleven along with Morison engendered thoughts of a lethal attack but the forwards hardly got any support from the midfielders, who missed a lot of passes in the face of still challenges from the opponents.
“It is tough to expose the opposition backline when an opponent plays for a single point,” said Abahani's Iranian coach Ali Akbar. “Despite that, our strikers squandered a few scoring chances and so we were forced to play out a draw against them.”
Ali Akbar also complained of poor refereeing as the opponents put up a physical show instead of a technical game, and he thought such negative football would hinder Bangladesh's football from going forward.
After resumption, Abahani stepped up the attack for the lead and they got the two easiest chances but Ibrahim and Morison surprisingly squandered both sitters from inside the danger zone.
Cameroonian midfielder Yoko Samnick placed a nice defense-split through for Ibrahim, who received the ball and darted into the box with goalkeeper Nehal to beat but the Ghanaian hitman saw his low drive to the far post go narrowly wide in the 58th minute.
Later, Morison squandered the easiest chance of the night from point-blank distance in the 69th minute. The Nigerian striker, standing on the near post, drove it to Feni goalkeeper Nehal, standing in the middle of the post, instead of tapping it into the net.
Ali Akbar then brought three changes within ten minutes but it had no impact on the game, although Ibrahim got another chance in stoppage time but he floated the ball over the crosspiece.
“We were underdogs in the game and I am happy to have earned one point against big opponents,” said Feni Soccer's Gambian coach Omar K Sise. “I thanked my boys for following the instructions and implementing the strategy properly.”