Holders Abahani notched up a 3-1 win over hosts Saif SC in their Bangladesh Premier League encounter in Mymensingh while visiting Mohammedan SC suffered a 0-1 defeat to newcomers NoFeL SC in Noakhali yesterday.
At the Rafique Uddin Bhuiyan Stadium in Mymensigh, six-time champions Abahani, who came into the match with a morale-boosting triumph over bitter rivals Mohammedan, dominated the show against the hosts who were looking to extend their five-match unbeaten run since their lone defeat against Sheikh Russel KC.
But Abahani were too strong as they took a comfortable 2-0 lead in the first half and added a third one in the second half. Saif SC also found the back of the net once, which did little to avert their second defeat in nine matches.
Nabib Newaj Jibon gave Abahani the lead in the ninth minute from a rebound after his initial attempt was blocked by goalkeeper Ziaur Rahman while Sunday doubled the lead in the 28th minute with a header.
Sunday ensured Abahani's eighth win and his seventh goal by availing a missed pass before Russian striker Denis Bolshakov reduced the margin in the 63rd minute. The win moved Abahani back to the top with 24 points from 10 matches while Saif stayed in fourth position with 17 points from nine matches.
“We dominated from the outset to take a comfortable 2-0 lead even though we conceded an unfortunate goal in the latter part of the match. We have to prevent conceding such goals,” said Jibon, who is on the top of scorers' list among the local players with six goals, one less than league's joint top scorers Ballu Famousa of Muktijoddha Sangsad and Sunday of Abahani.
At the Shaheed Bulu Stadium in Noakhali, Mohammedan's hopes of bouncing back was put to bed by newcomers NoFel SC, who dominated the proceedings to notch their second home win, thanks to a penalty converted by Guinean striker Ismail Bangoura four minutes from time after defender Atiqur Rahman Meshu fouled Masud Rana inside the danger zone.
“The team have been playing better compared to the matches we played earlier in the league and the boys are now showing fighting attitude to get wins at home,” said NoFel SC coach Kamal Babu over phone. “We also created more chances than Mohammedan, who failed to expose our backline.”
“We tried to play attacking football against, but a vacuum was created in the midfield. To be honest, Mohammedan are a bad team and there is the question of ability of the players. We are not getting the services from our foreign players who are even poorer than those of NoFel SC,” said Mohammedan coach Shahidul Islam Jewel. “If Mohammedan squad is not reformed drastically in the mid-season window of players' transfer, things may go from bad to worse.”
It was the sixth defeat for Mohammedan in nine matches as they slipped to 11th position with five points from nine matches while NoFeL SC moved up to ninth position with eight points from nine matches.
At the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka, Sheikh Jamal DC played out a goalless draw against Chittagong Abahani to stay in sixth and seventh positions respectively. Sheikh Jamal, with four draws in 10 matches, have 13 points while Chittagong Abahani secured 11 points following their fifth draw in nine matches.