Title contenders Bashundhara Kings and Abahani notched big wins in their away matches of the Bangladesh Premier League yesterday. Following the two encounters, the league was suspended for three weeks to allow the national football team to prepare for the upcoming Joint Qualifiers for the World Cup and Asia Cup against Laos in June.
League leaders Bashundhara kept their unbeaten run intact by handing hosts NoFel SC a 3-1 defeat at the Shaheed Bulu Stadium in Noakhali. Meanwhile, the second-placed Abahani inflicted a 4-1 loss on Muktijoddha Sangsad at the Sheikh Fazlul Haque Moni Stadium in Gopalganj.
With their 14th win in 15 matches, Bashundhara consolidated their lead with 43 points, seven points ahead of Abahani, who have 36 points from 15 outings.
Fresh from a morale boosting 1-0 win over Abahani in the previous match, Bashundhara had to toil to break NoFel before Costa Rican forward Daniel Colindres got the newcomers ahead in the 41st minute while their Kyrgyzstani recruit Baktyair Duyshobekov doubled the lead on the stroke of half-time.
After resumption, Guinean Ismail Bangoura reduced the margin for NoFel by converting a penalty in the 53rd minute. However, Bashundhara wrapped up the victory when Brazilian Marcos Vinicius scored his ninth goal of the league in the 74th minute.
In Gopalganj, Abahani came from behind to post as easy win as the on-song Fils Belfort, Nabib Newaj Jibon, Mamunul Islam and Sunday Chizoba scored one goal apiece after Ballu Famousa gave Muktijoddha Sangsad the lead.
Availing a long ball from Guinean Yamousa Camara, Famoussa entered the box to shoot past the right-hand side of goalkeeper Sultan Ahmed Shakil in the 14th minute, however, Belfort scored a sliding header off a Mamunul Islam free-kick to level the margin in 27th minute.
Three minutes later, Abahani went ahead when Jibon scored from a goal-mouth melee following a free-kick from Wali Faisal while Mamunul Islam hammered a powerful left-footer from the top of the box after capitalizing on a cut-back from Jibon in the 64th minute.
The league’s top-scorer, Sunday, then sealed the victory in the 74th minute with his 11th league goal.