Ctg Abahani extend lead
Chittagong Abahani consolidated their lead at the top of the Bangladesh Premier League with a 1-0 win over Mohammedan at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
Veteran winger Zahid Hossain's 12th minute strike ensured that the early pace-setters moved five points clear at the top with 32 points from 13 matches. Since being beaten by defending champions Abahani in their last match of the first leg, the port city outfit have won both their matches as they look to take a substantial lead over the chasing pack.
Mohammedan, on the other hand, have lost twice in a row in the second leg and remain sixth with 17 points.
Chittagong Abahani started the game brighter and Zahid's header in the 11th minute on a cross from Mamunul Islam was comfortably gathered by Mohammedan keeper Mamun Khan.
The veteran winger, however, was at hand to poke in Lionel Saint Preux's cross the following minute, scoring his second goal in two matches and third overall.
Tawhidul Alam Sabuz should have doubled the lead 17 minutes after the restart, but his toe-poke on a low cross from Shafiqul Islam rolled past the post.
Saint Preux then had an opportunity in the 84th minute, but he dwelled on the ball a bit too long inside the box, allowing a Mohammedan defender to make a sliding tackle, taking the bite out of his eventual attempt.
Those missed chances almost came back to haunt Saiful Bari's charges as Mohammedan's substitute forward Augustine Walson took a powerful side volley from outside the box in stoppage time, only for Chittagong Abahani goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana to produce a brilliant save. The win extended Chittagong Abahani's winning run against Mohammedan to five matches in all competitions.
Meanwhile, defending champions Abahani scraped to a 2-1 victory over Farashganj SC to move up to joint second position on the table.
Second-half substitute Rubel Mia opened the scoring with clever finish five minutes after the break, but Farashganj, the bottom side who had stunned the champions in their first meeting of the league, hit back through Chinedu Mathew on 74 minutes.
The Gambian forward played a neat one-two with Afzal Hossain before being teed up, only to see his attempt take a massive deflection off Abahani defender Tutul Hossain Badshah, leaving goalkeeper Shahidul Alam Sohel flatfooted.
However, Abahani found a lucky break six minutes later when Sunday Chizoba was brought down inside the box by Farashganj defender Moshiur Islam. Emeka Darlington stepped up and calmly slotted the ball home as the Sky Blues moved up to 27 points.