Mohammedan produced the most extraordinary result of this season’s Bangladesh Premier League yesterday when the relegation-threatened side thrashed defending champions Abahani 4-0 at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
The Black and Whites, coming into the match with the ignominy of a record number of losses in professional football league history following last week’s 2-1 defeat against Sheikh Russel, completely outplayed arch-rivals Abahani to register their first win over the Dhanmondi giants since May, 2015.
Two goals from former national striker Toklish Ahmed in the first half followed by a goal each from Souleymane Diabate and Zahid Hasan Emily gave the Black and Whites a much-needed win while all but ending the Sky Blues’ hopes of a title defence.
The match started on a rain-soaked pitch following a hearty farewell to long-serving Mohammedan midfielder Enamul Haque Sharif in the presence of his family members. Even though the former national midfielder was not named in the squad, he must have been happy to see his team come out of their doldrums with a comprehensive win over their fiercest rivals.
Toklish opened the scoring in the 17th minute with a strike from the middle of the box as Abahani goalkeeper Shahidul Alam was out of position. The former national team striker doubled Mohammedan’s advantage with a superb strike following a counter attack, with his curling effort from the top of the box taking a deflection off an Abahani defender on its way to goal in the second minute of stoppage time of the first half. Diabate made it 3-0 five minutes into the second half with a drive from inside the box before setting up Emily for a diving header at the far post 15 minutes later.
The win took Mohammedan to relative safety, lifting them to ninth place in the 13-team table with 20 points from 20 matches, while Abahani, who have three league matches left, remain seven points behind Bashundhara Kings -- who have a game in hand. This was the most exciting match on a day which saw 16 goals scored in four other matches across the country.
KINGS POUND HAPLESS BROTHERS
League leaders Bashundhara Kings handed a 5-0 defeat to strugglers Brothers Union at the Sheikh Kamal Stadium in Nilphamari, with Matin Mia scoring a hattrick while Mohammad Ibrahim and Alamgir Kabir Rana scored a goal apiece. Ibrahim gave the hosts a 31st minute lead before Matin scored his first seven minutes later to give the newcomers a 2-0 lead in the first half. Matin scored two more in the 48th and 67th minutes before Rana wrapped up victory two minutes into stoppage time, raising Bashundhara’s tally to 58 points from 20 matches. Brothers, on the other hand, remained second from bottom with 16 points from 20 matches.
SK RUSSEL THUMP NOFEL
Third-placed Sheikh Russel, too, notched a big victory, beating NoFeL SC 4-0 at the Shaheed Bulu Stadium in Noakhali. Biplu Ahmed gave the visitors a 24th-minute lead before Raphael Odoyin bagged a hattrick, scoring in the 44th, 81st and 85th minutes as his side regained third position. The win took Sheikh Russel to 42 points, one ahead of Saif SC but nine behind second-placed Abahani.
RAHMATGANJ HEAP MORE MISERY ON TEAM BJMC
Rahmatganj heaped more pressure on bottom-placed Team BJMC while allaying their own fears of relegation with a hard-fought 3-2 win at the Bangabandhu National Stadium. Goals from Siyo Zunapio and Rakibul Islam gave the hosts a 2-0 lead in the first half before Zunapio added a second four minutes after the restart to all but ensure a comfortable victory. However, Mohammad Al Amin reduced the margin for Team BJMC in the 57th minute before Mukhamedov made things interesting with the team’s second goal in the 71st minute. But Team BJMC failed to find an equaliser and remained firmly rooted to the bottom with only eight points from 20 games, with both Brothers and Rahmatganj -- their nearest teams -- eight points ahead.
MUKTIJODDHA HOLD ARAMBAGH
Muktijoddha Sangsad held Arambagh to a 1-1 draw in their home venue at the Sheikh Fazlul Haque Moni Stadium in Gopalganj to move to eighth position with 22 points from 20 matches. Arambagh remain fifth with 27 points from 21 matches. Paul Emile gave visitors Arambagh the lead in the 66th minute but Yamoussa Camara equalised for Muktijoddha 18 minutes later.