Jamal propels Covid-hit Saif
Saif Sporting Club registered a thrilling 4-3 win over relegation-threatened Arambagh KS in an entertaining encounter of the Bangladesh Premier League at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday, with captain Jamal Bhuiyan scoring the winning goal from a free-kick two minutes from time.
Saif came into the match on the back of a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Sheikh Jamal and were missing some regular players due to Covid-19 but they never looked playing like missing the services of two foreign strikers -- John O'koli and Kenneth Ngwoke as well as winger Arifur Rahman.
Saif took 29 minutes to break the deadlock, with Emmanuel Ariwachukwu heading home Jamal free-kick but the lead lasted only seven minutes as Islomjon Abdukodirov brought Arambagh back into the match by converting a penalty.
The second half of the match was more entertaining as Saif restored the lead with a 74th-minute strike from Maraz Hossain. Faisal Hossain Fahim made it 3-1 two minutes later with a header, giving the impression that Saif were comfortable with the lead but minnows Arambagh bit back strongly to reimburse both goals within seven minutes.
Uzbek midfielder Kholmurodov converted another spot-kick in 78th minute while substitute Arafat Mia levelled the margin six minutes later as the match changed its complexion entirely. With a draw on the cards, Jamal stole the show with a superb curling effort that from 25 yards out, driving his side to a much-needed victory and raising their tally to 29 points from 18 matches.
Arambagh remained bottom of the 13-team table with five points from 17 matches.
Sheikh Jamal pip Sheikh Russel
Sheikh Jamal DC moved to second position of the table with a 2-0 victory over Sheikh Russel KC, thanks to a brilliant performance from Pa Omar Jobe.
With their 11th win in 17 matches, the three-time champions toppled Abahani to grab the second position with 38 points, still 11 points behind leaders Bashundhra Kings. Russel were in seventh position with 27 points from 18 matches.
Sheikh Jamal, who thrashed Sheikh Russel 4-2 in the first-leg, had to work hard to break the deadlock. Following a barren first half, Sheikh Jamal took the lead in the 59th minute as unmarked Suleyman Sillah drove home a cross from Omar Jobe after two defenders failed to clear the danger. Jobe then sealed the victory with a brilliant curling shot from a difficult angle after dancing past onrushing goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana in the 65th minute.