The race for becoming the top scorer heated up as Nabib Newaj Jibon scored one and set up another to power holders Abahani to a 2-0 win over Chittagong Abahani in a rain-interrupted Bangladesh Premier League encounter at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
Jibon put the Sky Blues ahead in the 10th minute by sliding the ball home from a through-pass from Min-hyuk Ko to raise his tally to seven goals. The national team striker then whipped in a cross for Sunday Chizoba, who headed in to double the lead in the 17th minute in the match which was halted for nearly 40 minutes due to heavy showers. It was the eighth goal for Sunday, one more than joint second-paced Jibon, Rahmatganj MFS's Siyo Zunapio and Muktijoddha Sangsad's Ballo Famousa.
“I really feel good that I am getting goals in almost all matches. I want to score more every match. Of course I will have to work hard to do this. I'm not stopping here,” Jibon said after the match.
“Last season, I could hardly get a chance to play, so I could not get goals. This time, though, coach [Mario Lemos] has kept faith in me and I am really been working hard to improve myself. I train individually in a bid to getting sharper because I won't get the opportunity if I don't deliver on the pitch,” Jibon said, explaining his transformation from last season.
However, six-time champions Abahani faced tremendous pressure after scoring the two goals within eight minutes. The Abahani defence was busy thwarting the attacks of their Chittagong namesakes on the rain-soaked pitch. The defence was exposed on one occasion in latter part of the first half when defender Tutul Hossain Badsha seemingly handled the ball inside the box while Shahed Hossain mustered a shot on target but referee MZF Naheed overlooked the incident.
After resumption, Abahani came close twice to widening the margin but efforts from Sunday and Rubel Mia narrowly missed the target.
“It is the nature of game that the opponents will press hard once you take lead. So Chittagong Abahani pressed hard but they could not create any chances. In the second half, we established our control on the game but we were deprived of two more goals,” said Jibon.
With the ninth win in 11 matches, Abahani have 27 points, closing the gap with leaders Bashundhara Kings having to one point. The league leaders, however, have played a match less. Chittagong Abahani remained in eighth position with 11 points from 10 matches.
Away at the Rafique Uddin Bhuiyan Stadium in Mymensingh, hosts Arambagh handed a 2-1 defeat to Team BJMC, with Cameroonian forward Paul Emile and local youngster Rabiul Islam scoring in the fourth and eighth minutes respectively. Samson Iliasu pulled one goal back for Team NJMC in the 81st minute.
Arambagh, with their sixth win in 11 matches, raised their tally to 19 points while BJMC remained at the bottom with three points from 10 outings.