Title aspirants Bashundhara Kings went four points clear of holders Abahani in the Bangladesh Premier League with an emphatic 4-1 win over Mohammedan in an away encounter at Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
Brazilian striker Marcos Vinicius struck a brace while Matin Mia and Kyrgyz hitman Bakhtiyar Duyshobekov netted one each. With a ninth win from 10 matches, Bashundhara tightened their lead with 28 points while Mohammedan remain 11th with five points.
Bashundhara struggled to edge past mid-table side Rahmatganj a month ago, after which the league was suspended due to the national teams' engagements. However, the newcomers came back strong after a month of preparation, notching a convincing win over Mohammedan, who were being guided by newly-appointed English coach Sean Lane.
It seemed initially that there would be a neck-and-neck battle, but Independence Cup champions Bashundhara made it one-way traffic as the match progressed.
Bashundhara took the lead in the 19th minute after Nasir Chowdhury initiated an attack through the left. Winger Mohammad Ibrahim released a low cross for Vinicius, who tapped home at his second attempt after the first was parried by goalkeeper Sarwar Jahan.
Mohammedan found the equliser a minute later, thanks a blunder from Bashundhara Kings goalkeeper Anisur Rahman Zico, who deposited the ball to Landing just outside the box and the tall attacking midfielder did not hesitate in driving home into an open net.
Instead of being demoralised, Bashundhara bounced back strongly and restored the lead in the 37th minute. A Vinicius header off Ibrahim's corner was blocked by Sarwar but Bakhtiyar headed to Matin Mia, who then side-volleyed home from close range.
Bashundhara then took the game beyond Mohammedan, scoring a minute from the break. Matin rose nicely to meet a Bakhtiyar free-kick, but his effort ricocheted off the post and fortunately into the path of the waiting Vinicius, who shot into the far post.
Seven minutes from time, Bashundhara sealed their ninth victory when Bakhtiyar brilliantly received a lob from Masuk Mia Jonny and took it over onrushing goalkeeper Sarwar before heading home.
In the other match at the Sylhet District Stadium, Sheikh Russel were held to a stalemate by visiting Muktijoddha Sangsad. Both Sheikh Russel and Muktjoddha Sangsad remain third and sixth positions with 21 and 14 points from 10 games.