Classy Jamal clinch Cup
It was the clash of the new order during the final of the Federation Cup at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday and if this single match was any evidence of what we can expect in the future, we are set for exciting times. In front of a 7000 strong crowd
at the Big Bowl, Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club emerged champions after a 3-1 win over Team BJMC in a pulsating final that marked the elevation of a new champion in the 25th edition of the tournament.
Sheikh Jamal thus became the fifth team to win the Federation Cup trophy setting a new mark by putting aside traditional giants like Mohammedan, Abahani, Brothers Union and Muktijoddha Sangsad.
In an end-to-end encounter rife with nervous tension, defender Mintu Sheikh gave Jamal the lead in the 55th minute. The lead was doubled by Nigerian hitman Kester Akon five minutes later and the match looked dead and buried. But BJMC's old war-horses fought back like they often have and reduced the arrears through Jeans Jules Ikanga in the 73rd minute.
But with BJMC pouring forward in search of an equalizer, Jamal struck the killer blow through Towhidul Alam Sabuj's stoppage time header.
BJMC had every reason to feel hard done by the defeat as they dominated the encounter across large spells but failed to make their possession count as goals. Their trio of foreign recruits Ajagun Rasheed, Ismael Bangoura and Jeans Jules Ikanga particularly stood out with their nice touches and combination play. Luck was also not on the side of BJMC as they struck the woodwork twice in the second half.
“We played well throughout the game but could not avail the chances and our opponents came out as victors because they managed to avail their chances they created,” said a frustrated BJMC coach Jakaria Babu.
The result could indeed have been different had Saiful Islam Saif's shot not struck the crossbar in the 54th minute, because in just the next minute Jamal scored against the run of play. Kester Akon soon doubled the lead with a placing effort and BJMC looked dead and buried.
But man of the tournament Ikanga still had his say as he illuminated the game with a spectacular finish, controlling the ball on his chest before volleying past a stunned Jamal custodian Aminul Haque to bring BJMC back in it. The goal heralded the start of a period of intense pressure from Jamal which culminated in Bangoura striking the bar late on.
And luck was indeed not on their side as substitute Sabuj, sent on mainly as a ploy to kill time, expertly finished off the tie with a well-taken goal with his first touch.
“Clinching of any trophy is always a pleasure,” said Sheikh Jamal coach Saiful Bari Titu adding that his side played better in the second half.
SHEIKH JAMAL: Aminul Islam, Mintu, Yousuf Ali Khan, Youssif Issah, Atiqur Rahman Meshu, Abdul Baten Komol (Towhidul Alam Sabuj), Enamul Haque Sharif (Sohel Rana), Monaem Khan Raju, Femi Orunnimi (Adul Hamid), Yoko Samnick, Kester Akon.
TEAM BJMC: Mazharul Islam Himel, Amit Khan Shuvro (Biplob), Ashraful Karim, Saiful Islam Saif (Abdullah Parvez), Baybeck Fombagne, Masud Khan Jonny, Alfaz Ahmed (Rony Islam) Jeans Jules Ikanga, Abul Hossain, Ajagun Abdul Rasheed, Ismael Bangoura.
Referee: Azad Rahman