Sony powers Sk Jamal into final
Haitian forward Sony Norde produced yet another dazzling performance to power pre-tournament favourites Sheikh Jamal DC into the final of the Walton Federation Cup with an emphatic 3-0 win over Abahani in the first semifinal at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
Sony struck twice in the first half, taking his goal-tally to seven, after his compatriot Wedson Anselme had opened the scoring, to take the Dhanmondi-based outfit to the final of the Federation Cup for the fourth time in a row.
The 2011 champions had showed their prowess in their 3-1 win over traditional powerhouse Mohammedan in the quarterfinal and they played yesterday’s match in the same vein turning the ‘unofficial final’ into a one-sided affair.
Sheikh Jamal’s attacking trident – Sony, Wedson and Nigerian Emeka Darlington – tore apart the defence of Abahani, who had boasted of not conceding any goals in the tournament thus far. All that pride bit the dust when Sheikh Jamal virtually killed off the game, scoring three goals within the first 40 minutes, much to the frustration of approximately 7,000-strong holiday crowd, most of whom were rooting for the Sky Blues.
The first goal came as early as the fourth minute when Emeka cleverly put a chip over two defenders for Wedson, dinked it over the advancing goalkeeper Shahidul Alam Sohel. Sony then made it 2-0 in the 21st minute, availing a defensive fumble from Atiqur Rahman Meshu before rounding Sohel and finishing with an angular shot. The Haitian marksman increased the margin in the 39th minute with a low left-footed shot after Wedson had released him inside the box.
All that domination in the attacking third came with complete command in the midfield where Mamunul Islam and Sohel Rana combined to neatly distribute the ball. The margin of victory could have been bigger for Sheikh Jamal had Wedson’s attempt not hit the woodwork in the first half or had Sony not floundered a penalty kick deep into the stoppage time.
Abahani hardly made an impression going forward as they were mostly confined to guarding their own goal and had to face elimination at the hands of Sheikh Jamal for the third consecutive time. The frustration got to the Abahani faithful who hurled abusive words towards the team management, especially manager Satyajit Das Rupu, for their disappointing performance.
“The win was an outcome of hard work. We knew, after beating Mohammedan, that Abahani would pose a threat, but we were prepared for them,” said Sheikh Jamal coach Joseph Afusi adding that the first goal lent them confidence, the second gave the balance and the third one helped them establish control over the game.
Abahani coach Amalesh Sen said that the first two goals were due to defensive mistakes while the third goal threw them out of the tie.
“We had the chance of making a comeback even after conceding the lead in the very fourth minute due to a fumble of defenders, but they made the same mistake again and threw away the chances,” said Amalesh.