Nasir brace moves Jamal five clear
Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club defender Nasiruddin Chowdhury showed how dangerous he can be as a forward by scoring two late goals to give his side a precious win from the jaws of defeat in their Bangladesh Premier League match against strugglers Chittagong Abahani at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
The striker-turned-central-defender was moved to the forward position in the 70th minute as the league leaders were trailing by one goal and were in danger of losing for the first time in the league. They conceded in the eighth minute when defender Didarul Haque's gaffe allowed Chittagong Abahani forward Sohel Mia an easy run in inside the box and slam the ball past a hapless Ziaur Rahman into the net. The port city side held on to the lead for more than an hour, and despite coming close to conceding on a few occasions -- with Sheikh Jamal's Ali Amisu hitting the bar and Daniel Onyekachi forcing two excellent saves from Chittagong Abahani keeper Salim Ullah -- they looked headed for a priceless victory. But a masterstroke from Sheikh Jamal coach turned the game on its head. Afusi took off Onyekachu and brought on defender Linkon Ahmed, while giving Nasir a free run at the forward position.
Three minutes after the switch, Nasir paid back the faith of his coach by expertly heading in a cross from Wedson Anselme to bring his side back into the match in the 73rd minute. And Nasir completed the turn-around in the 90th minute with a thumping volley from inside the box on a Wedson cross.
“It's not the first time that Nasir delivered with goals. We put him up front in the Federation Cup and he gave us the win. He is a good player, a fighter, a soldier and he believes in playing till the end,” said Sheikh Jamal coach Joseph Afusi after the match.
“My team manager Helal (Anwarul Karim) told me, 'remember, he (Nasir) is a striker, do you want to try him up front?' So I believe Helal is the man of the match today,” said a satisfied Afusi.
Afusi had more reason to be pleased as the victory took his side five points clear at the top, as second-placed Abahani failed to reduce the gap by going down 1-0 against Brothers Union in the second match of the day.
Abahani, coming into the match after their semifinal exit from the Independence Cup, looked out of sorts and conceded the decisive lead in the 37th minute through a dreadful own goal as defender Nasirul Islam's back pass took a deflection and wrongfooted goalkeeper Shahidul Alam Sohel to end up at the back of the net.
Abahani had the chance to restore parity in the 75th minute, but Portuguese forward Leonildo Soares squandered the opportunity by shooting over the crossbar on a one-on-one situation with Brothers goalie Mohammad Sujon.
The defeat meant Abahani stayed at 19 points from 10 matches and five behind Sheikh Jamal while Brothers moved up to sixth position with 13 points.