Bukola lifts MSC
A demoralised Mohammedan scraped through to a 1-0 win against Rahmatganj yesterday to take revenge of their first-leg defeat to the old-Dhaka outfit.
Still smarting over their heartbreaking 2-1 loss to perennial foes and current B. League leaders Abahani, Mohammedan hardly reflected their true strength during their ninth victory but Maruful Haque's depleted side wasted a number of chances either side of Nigerian striker Alamu Bukola's 62nd minute match winner at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
Mohammedan, who lost to Rahmatganj by an identical margin in their earlier clash, remained six points behind holders Abahani, who have a chance to widen the gap further against lowly Muktijoddha today.
The Black and Whites began without players from the regular eleven and Korean import Oh Ddogyi, who fluffed a great chance against Abahani despite creating three for his teammates, was missing after three successive starts.
With Robin still unavailable following a foot injury, the responsibility wrested on their top scorer Bukola who received little support.
The Nigerian opened up the first real chance after 20 minutes when he picked Komol with a centre just on top of the six-yard box but the local striker's first-time placing shot sailed over the bar.
Idris Kaseryi, the Ugandan forward who had sunk Mohammedan with a fine headed-goal in the first leg, unsettled the rival defence on the break on the half hour. With the Mohammedan backs keeping eyes on him, Idris released a square pass to Ripon but Aminul went full stretch to parry the latter's low drive.
Mohammedan's chase for the opening goal continued but Bukola should have done better than firing an angled drive wide at the far post on the stroke of halftime.
Despite his team enjoying superior possession, Aminul needed to stay alert and passed the test four minutes after resumption when Rahmatganj's overlapping defender Jahangir Patwary unleashed one of his trademark shots from 35 yards. The ball dipped and Aminul palmed it away at the last moment.
At the other end, Rahmatganj keeper Ali held a long range effort by Egyptian midfielder Hazem Mahmud before luck ran out for the Old-Dhaka side.
Nasir, who started as rightback after a long time in absence of both Hassan Al Mamun and Kamal, chipped the ball for Maruf whose header came off the crossbar. Bukola did well to control the rebound with his chest and his second touch was a low header that gave Ali no chance to react. It was Bukola's 13th league goal that put him one shy of Russel striker Alfaz Ahmed.
The Nigerian came close to join Alfaz on the top of the scorers' list in the 74th minute but lost control from a fine shooting position during a melee inside the opposition area.
Rahmatganj, who have lost half of their 16 games, stuck to 20 points at seventh place.
MOHAMMEDAN: Aminul, Nasir, Emmanuelle, Rajani, Saikat, Sharif, Arman Aziz (Pappu), Hazem, Maruf (Rony), Bukola and Komol (Faisal).
RAHMATGANJ: Ali, Jahangir, Ashraful, Shipon, Babu, Felix, Kabir, Hanif (Zakir), Ripon (Roland), Hirok and Idris.