Mohammedan banish Sheikh Russel woes
Mohammedan tasted their first victory against Sheikh Russel in eight years as the struggling giants recorded a 1-0 win in a Bangladesh Premier League encounter at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
The eighth overall triumph from 15 outings helped the Black and Whites topple Sheikh Russel and grab fourth position in the 13-team table with 28 points, one more than Sheikh Russel and four less than second-placed Abahani.
Burkina Faso defender Mounzir Couldiati nodded home the decisive goal in the 37th minute to provide Mohammedan first win over Sheikh Russel since a 1-0 win in of the BPL in 2013.
Since their last triumph, Mohammedan faced Sheikh Russel 12 times in the Bangladesh Premier League and Federation Cup and recorded eight defeats and four draws before breaking the curse yesterday. However, Mohammedan did beat Sheikh Russel 2-1 in the cancelled Bangladesh Premier League in 2020.
On the back of their first league win over Saif SC in three years in the previous match, Mohammedan appeared rejuvenated and played comparatively better than Sheikh Russel, who lacked cutting edge after their two foreign strikers – Brazil's Lopes Rodrigues and Nigeria's Obi Moneke – left the field after picking up injuries.
Mohammedan kept pressing to break the deadlock and succeeded in the 37th minute when Couldiati rose high at far post to nod home a curving corner kick from Habibur Rahman Shohag.
After resumption, Mohammedan got an easy chance to double the lead when Nigerian Souleymane Diabate ran down the left flank to enter the box before squaring the ball to new signing, Cameroonian striker Yassan Ouatching. However, he left it for an unmarked Jafar Iqbal but the national discard unbelievably drove wide when faced with an open net one minute into the second half.
Five minutes later, Sheikh Russel came close to equalising when Obi Moneke availed a lob from Khalekurzzaman and raced to the box only for his shot to be denied by the woodwork. Moneke fell down injured, ending Sheikh Russel's hopes of keeping their unbeaten record intact.
Under floodlights, Chattogram Abahani registered a massive 5-2 victory over Federation Cup runners-up Saif SC to jump to sixth position with 25 points from 15 matches. Saif SC slipped to the seventh place with two successive defeats and now have 23 points from 15 outings.
Rakib Hossain struck a brace while Mannaf Rabbi, Brazil's Nixon Guylherme and Ivory Coast's Charles Didier netted one goal apiece while John Okoli struck twice to reduce the margin for Saif SC.