Abahani tasted sweet revenge for their first-leg defeat against Sheikh Russel KC when they handed the side a single goal defeat in a Bangladesh Premier League encounter at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
Nabib Newaj Jibon scored the winner in the 59th minute to help six-time champions Abahani close the gap with leaders Bashundhara Kings with 51 points, just one shy of the newcomers who have, however, played two matches less than the Abahani’s 20 outings.
Sheikh Russel, who beat Abahani 2-0 in Sylhet, remained at third position with 39 points and four defeats from 19 matches.
On the slippery ground following showers, Sheikh Russel were the better side in terms of possession and creating opportunities. However, Sheikh Russel’s forwards could not break Abahani goalkeeper Shahidul Alam Sohel, who thwarted at least five attempts from Ukrainian forward Valerii Hrysher, Nigerian forward Raphael Odoyin and winger Khalekurzaman.
After surviving the first-half scares, Abahani took the lead through a counter attack from the right flank as right-back Raihan Hasan played a forward-pass to Jibon, who darted into the box to nutmeg Nigerian defender Udoka Alison and score from inside the box.
Brothers 2 – 1 NoFel SC
Brothers Union notched three valuable points in their attempt to exit the red zone by registering a 2-1 win over NoFeL SC, thanks to a clear strike from Sudanese forward James Moga at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
The overall fourth win in 19 matches helped Brothers equal Rahmatganj MFS and NoFel SC on 16 points, just eight ahead of bottom-placed Team BJMC.
Brothers made a positive start on the rain-soaked ground before Mannaf Rabbi gave them a 19-minute lead after availing a defensive fumble from NoFel.
NoFel equalised the margin five minutes into the second half when Jamir Uddin found the back of the net with a left-footer, courtesy of a deflection off a Brothers defender inside the box.
However, Moga made a surprise strike from 35 yards as he mustered a dipping shot with goalkeeper Saiful Islam Khan unable to go back return from the edge to stop the shot in the 80th minute.
Team BJMC 0 – 1 Muktijoddha
At the Shaheed Bulu Stadium, BJMC badly needed an outright victory over Muktijoddha Sangsad to close the gap with the other relegation-threatened sides but they ultimately conceded their 14th overall defeat, and four in a row, after Japanese forward Yousuke Kato struck the all-important goal nine minutes from time. BJMC remained at the bottom with eight points from 20 matches while Muktijoddha raised their tally to 21 from 19 matches to stay in the middle of the 13-team table.
Arambagh-Bashundhara tie postpone
Following heavy showers at the Rafique Uddin Bhuiyan Stadium in Mymensingh, the tie between hosts Arambagh KS and Bashundhara Kings was postponed to today after the match lasted only eight minutes. It is the second match to be postponed this season after the Abahani-Mohammedan match. The match will resume from where it left off but the schedule has not been decided yet.