Bangladesh Premier League champions Abahani warmed up for their next AFC Cup fixture with a 4-3 win over Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
The Sky Blues, who got their continental campaign off to a good start with a 1-0 win away to Manang Marshyangdi on April 3, will be hosting Minerva Punjab from India at the BNS on Wednesday.
With rain forecast for the next few days in Dhaka, it was a good warm-up for the Dhanmondi giants as the game was halted for 84 minutes after 36th minutes of play before eventually being completed amid constant showers on a water-logged surface.
Abahani did not start the game well though as they conceded the opening goal in the 27th second, the fastest goal of the league, when Sheikh Jamal's Argentine forward Luciano Perez sidefooted the ball into the net on a cross from Shakhawat Hossain.
However, the Sky Blues equalised nine minutes later, with Afghan defender Masih Saighani heading in a curling free-kick from Nabib Newaz Jibon.
The Dhanmondi outfit then took the lead in the 27th minute, thanks to an own goal from Sheikh Jamal defender Manjur Rahman Manik, who tried to clear a long throw-in from Abahani defender Raihan Hassan, instead heading it into his own net.
A thunderstorm struck the match in the 36th minute, and once play was resumed, Abahani were on the ascendancy.
Even though they took a slender lead into the second half, the Sky Blues increased the margin 18 minutes after restart with Kervens Belfort chipping the ball calmly over Sheikh Jamal goalkeeper Mohammad Nayeem after receiving a pass from Sunday Chizoba.
Jibon made it 4-1 in the 70th minute, tapping in Sunday's header from in front of goal to take himself to the top of the scorers' chart alongside Sunday with eight goals.
Sheikh Jamal did however launch a late comeback, thanks to two goals from substitute Jakir Hossain Zulu, who made it 4-2 in the 80th minute, poking home a rebound before placing the ball past Abahani goalkeeper Shahidul Alam Sohel in the last minute of regulation time.
They did not get a fourth goal though as the high-scoring encounter ended in favour of the six-time professional league champions. The win took Abahani to 30 points from 12 matches, one behind leaders Bashundhara Kings while Sheikh Jamal remained in eighth position with 13 points from 11 matches.
Meanwhile, Team BJMC and Brothers Union, the two bottom-placed sides of the league, shared the spoils of a goalless draw at the Shaheed Bulu Stadium in Noakhali yesterday.
Team BJMC had the chance to bag all three points at their home venue but Samson Iliasu failed to beat Brothers goalkeeper Biplob Bhattacharjee from the spot in the 76th minute.
The draw means Brothers are in 12th position with five points from 11 matches while Team BJMC are in 13th position with four points.