Abahani, Sk Jamal cancel each other out
Abahani came from two goals behind to play out a 2-2 draw against Sheikh Jamal DC in an important encounter of Bangladesh Premier League at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
With leaders Bashundhara Kings on course to defend the league title with 52 points from 19 matches, the outcome of the match between second-placed Sheikh Jamal and third-placed Abahani was crucial for the runners-up race, however the two former champions settled with an identical stalemate they had produced in their first league meeting.
With the sixth draw in 18 outings, three-time league champions Sheikh Jamal remained at the previous position with 39 points, two more than six-time league champions Abahani, who produced seven draws in 19 matches.
From the kickoff, Abahani looked a bit energetic, in contrast to their 2-4 defeat against lowly Muktijoddha Sangsad in the previous game before the suspension of the league, and dominated the proceedings in the early stages.
A chance for Abahani went begging in the 10th minute when Kervens Belfort squandered an opportunity inside the box. On the half-hour mark, against the flow, Sheikh Jamal took a lead availing a defensive fumble as Gambian Solomon King played his compatriot Pa Omar Jobe on the left-side who scored past goalkeeper Shahidul Alam Sohel. And right at the end of first-half, Solomon doubled the lead with a seemingly harmless shot from 25 yards which the experienced keeper Sohel failed to stop.
After resumption, the difficult conditions on the rain-soaked ground dictated play and Abahani narrowed the margin of score line in the 52nd minute when Nigerian Sunday Chizoba brilliantly controlled a Jewel Rana chip inside the box before volleying it for a goal.
In the 80th minute, Abahani were awarded a penalty when onrushing goalkeeper Samiul Islam Masum had committed a foul on Belfort. Masum however, redeemed himself by thwarting Sunday's spot-kick attempt.
Two minutes from time, Sunday too, managed to redeem himself when he delivered a nice curling cross from the left for Belfort, who did not make a mistake this time around.