Abahani take solo lead | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 11, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 11, 2008

Citycell B League

Abahani take solo lead

Abahani's Nigerian midfielder Emeka (L) is chased by two Khulna Abahani players during their Citycell B. League match at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.Photo: STAR

Defending champions Abahani clim-bed to the top of the Citycell B. League table yesterday with a 3-0 crushing of Khulna Abahani after last round's joint-leaders Sheikh Russel and Brothers Union both slipped to lesser opponents on the final day of the fourth round.
Emeka, Mamun and Emily scored at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Abahani's third consecutive win as the Sky-blues reached nine points after four rounds.
Brothers snatched a last-gasp 2-2 draw against Arambagh in the day's earlier game at the same venue while Chittagong Abahani held Sheikh Russel to a goalless draw at home.
Brothers and Russel were following Abahani with eight points each while Mohammedan, who have a match in hand, were third with seven points.
The match was scheduled for Khulna but due to the sake of the national team, the star-studded Abahani were allowed to play the fourth round game as their home match. And the holders finally put on a clinical performance although they should have scored more than once in the first half.
Emeka fluffed the easiest chance of the day after six minutes when Mamun floated a ball above the rival keeper but the Nigerian midfielder headed over the empty goal. He was on target though, in the 23rd minute, placing the ball into the far corner for his third goal.
Samad Yussif, playing as holding midfielder in absence of Joy and Pranotosh, created the chance when he cut the ball nicely inside the penalty area after fellow Ghanaian Ibrahim had sent him racing down the right.
Emily, who saw his first half effort disallowed for offside, set Mamun with a backpass to double the lead with a sublime shot outside from the box in the 61st minute.
Emily finally got into the scoresheet from a 76-minute penalty after substitute Zahed Parvez was tripped by Khulna defender Sikander.
Arambagh failed to hold on to a 2-0 first-half lead as the substitutes inspired a Brothers comeback with two late goals in an entertaining match.
Brothers went on the offensive from the word go but Arup shot over the bar in the first minute while Michael Oniya's superb header was denied by woodwork.
Quick on counter attacks, Arambagh who defeated Muktijoddha in their last match with goals inside the last four minutes, stunned the opposition in the 37th minute when Nayan fired an angled drive into the far corner just outside from the penalty area after meeting Turjo's cross-field pass.
Monu doubled the lead on the stroke of halftime when the Arambagh rightback's diving header on a cross by Kenyan playmaker Nicodemus gave Shakil no chance at the Oranges goal.
Wasim Iqbal brought Zahid and Manju early into the second half and Zahid's darting runs at the right flank kept the Arambagh backline busy but they defended doggedly.
It needed Brothers' third substitute Abdullah Parvez's touch to reduce the arrears when the midfielder's corner unsettled the rival defenders in the 75th minute for Shuvra to scramble past the ball through a forest of legs.
Arup rattled the crossbar six minutes later from the top of the box after a tremendous run but the Gopibagh tent was finally relived when substitute pair Zahid and Manju combined to find the equaliser in the first minute of the six-minute stoppage time.
Zahid centred the ball from the right and Manju, under tight marking near the six-yard box, stabbed a powerful header that went in off the underside of the crossbar.
Not only giving up late goals but Arambagh also rued receiving five yellow cards that cost them a fine of Tk 10,000 in the end.
CU Correspondent adds: At the MA Aziz Stadium, both the team rued missed chances at the end of the day.
In the very second minute, the hosts were denied by woodwork when Rony fired onto the crosspiece.
In the 37th minute,
Alfaz then shot wide from close and saw another weak effort gripped by the Abahani custodian.
The tourists got a golden chance in the fag end when their Moroccan captain Touati Youness, playing after two matches, failed to beat the lone Chittagong goalkeeper Thuan.
Chittagong Abahani coach Mohammad Kashem was happy with their second draw that took them to five points.
"Injury and bans forced us to play without five regular while Nepalese striker Santosh was dropped for poor form. So I am happy for the understrength side's performance," said Kashem.
Russel's assistant coach Milon Mollah was disappointed over the field and referee after failing to win in both their attempts in the port city.
"We repeatedly asked the authority to better the condition of the field which is not quite okay for playing. The refereeing has also been poor," alleged Milon.

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