Muktis off to a flyer
A brace from Mithun Chowdhury powered title contenders Muktijoddha Sangsad a 2-0 win over a spirited Brothers Union in their opening game of the Grameenphone Bangladesh League at the Brishreshtha Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Kamalapur yesterday.
The former Chittagong Abahani striker gave the freedom fighters' side an unexpected lead in the 39th minute and then doubled the margin in the 60th minute in the entertaining encounter.
But the game was marred by Brothers officials, who entered the playing area during the play in protest of a defective net while fans threw chairs onto the field from the second-floor of the VIP stand to bring it to the attention of officials. It was later revealed that Brothers Union goalkeeper Sabuj Das Ragu tore the net while foiling an attempt from the opponents and the game resumed after a 10-minute break.
Brothers Union, the semifinalists of the Federation Cup, pressed a rejuvenated Muktijoddha Sangsad from the outset with Brazilian playmaker Everton ruling the midfield and striking duo Ghanaian Enock Bentil and Cameroonian Bitcha Richard proving a handful throughout the game.
However, it was Muktijoddha's experienced goalkeeper Biplob Bhattacharjee, who twice rescued his new side in the first half as the former Abahani goalkeeper first made a diving safe off a Faisal Mahmud drive in the 16th minute and then blocked a powerful shot from Bentil in the 22nd minute.
Muktijoddha coach Maruful Haq had started with a 4-5-1 formation but he switched sending on striker Mithun Chowhdury in place of midfielder Maruf Ahmed and the national striker struck the opener against the run of play just two minutes later. Mithun availing a short corner off Zahed Chowdhury sent in a cross-shot and goalkeeper Ragu missed the flight to concede goal.
Brothers Union were not as lucky as Muktijoddha. The Gopibagh-based outfit should have won the match but their strikers saw their attempts either go wide or foiled by goalkeeper Biplob.
The backline of Brothers, who played in a 3-5-2 formation, was exposed whenever they went into attack and conceded the second goal from a counter attack as Zahed availing a clearance played Alamu Bukola on the right side and the Nigerian striker entered the box to send it to an unmarked Mithun, who just tapped into an open net.
Muktijoddha came close to a third but a header from Bukola went narrowly wide of the far post on 66 minutes while Mithun missed his hat-trick chance after spoiling a one on one chance.
After going two goals down, Brothers brought three changes but it had no impact on the game and they admitted defeat despite playing better than their mighty opponents.