Abahani ease into semis
Holders Abahani advanced to the semifinal of the Walton Federation Cup with a 2-1 win over Brothers Union in the third quarterfinal at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
Striker Nabib Newaj Jibon gave Abahani a lead two minutes from the break, before Rubel Mia doubled the margin in the 80th minute. Congolese striker Siyo Zunapio reduced the margin in stoppage time, but it was too little too late for Brothers.
The defending champions will now face Sheikh Jamal DC in the second semifinal on June 3.
Fresh off a 1-0 win over Muktijoddha Sangsad in their previous game, Abahani continued their brilliant performances and dominated possession. While Brothers Union showed their character with a spirited display, the Sky Blues did not face much resistance against the side they had beaten by the same margin in the last edition's quarterfinal.
As in the previous game, Abahani played with a five-man backline and Jibon up front as the lone striker. The tall marksman did not frustrate coach Drago Mamic, breaking the deadlock in the 43rd minute.
Winger Sohel Rana had a vital role behind the goal as the former Chittagong Abahani winger danced past two defenders outside the box before releasing a neat pass to Jibon, who drove the ball to the near post, giving Brothers goalkeeper Kamrul Hossain Titu no time to react.
Abahani did not let their foot off the gas and pressed for a second after resumption, coming close to scoring in the 56th minute. Jibon was presented with a chance from Nasir Chowdhury on the edge of the six-yard box, but he frustratingly failed to keep his header on target.
However, Abahani did grab the second from a fortunate goal in the 80th minute. Wali Faisal fed Rubel Mia the ball inside the box and the diminutive winger drove a low shot between goalkeeper Kamrul's legs towards target, before it was bundled home by defender Akramuzzaman Khan as he attempted to clear. The referee however awarded the goal to Rubel.
In the dying moments of the game, Brothers were awarded a free-kick on the edge of Abahani's box and Zunapio beat goalkeeper Shahidul Alam Sohel with a curving low shot, although in the end it proved to only be a consolation goal for the All Orange outfit.