Locals put Saif back on top
Saif Sporting Club maintained their perfect winning streak against Muktijoddha Sangsad in the Bangladesh Premier League with a 2-0 win at the Sheikh Fazlul Haque Moni Stadium in Gopalganj yesterday.
The win not only extended Saif SC's winning streak against the All Reds to five, but also helped them reclaim top spot of the 13-team table with 10 points from four matches, three more than Chattogram Abahani, Bashundhara Kings and Abahani even though the latter two outfits played a match less than Saif SC's four.
Even though the league leaders won the match away in Gopalganj, Muktijoddha dominated the match by creating a lot of chances but unfortunately their forwards could not take those chances, leaving the home side to slip to the bottom of the table with only one point from three matches.
Striking duo of Ismail Bangoura and Paul Emile exposed Saif SC's vulnerable defence time and again in every transition as Saif SC players apparently lacked urgency.
The Muktijoddha Sagnsad forwards, however, could not beat goalkeeper Mahfuz Ahmed Pritom, who kept the title contenders in the match by making a couple of good saves while defender Yeasin Arafat and new-signing Javed Ahmed made two goal-line saves.
Japanese midfielder Norito Hashiguchi all but put Muktijoddha Sagnsad ahead but his sliding drive at the far post went inches wide following a bursting run from Bangoura down the right.
Saif SC took the lead against the run of play in the 18th minute as Yeasin saw his miscued header off a Murolimozhon Akhmedov free-kick fall to unmarked Arifur Rahman, who nodded home from inside the six-yard box.
Despite conceding the lead, Muktijoddha Sangsad kept on pressing and went close to levelling the margin four times before the break, but those chances were wasted by Brazilian defender Albert Frank, Bangoura and Shohel Rana.
Deiner Cordoba then frustrated Saif SC by misfiring a spot-kick in the stoppage time while Yeasin and Javed denied Bangoura by making two goal-line saves in between Saif SC's second strike from Javed, who drove a grounder from the top of the box after availing a poor clearance from a Muktijoddha Sangsad defender.
Muktijoddha Sangsad were once again frustrated on the hour-mark as Bangoura saw his goal-bound header cleared by Javed as they suffered their second defeat in third match.