Falling giants Mohammedan Sporting Club ended their first phase of the Bangladesh Premier League with a 2-1 defeat against minnows Rahmatganj MFS at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
The eighth defeat in 12 matches means the once-popular Black and Whites stayed in 11th position in the 13-team table with only six points – their worst-ever first-phase tally in the professional football league history.
Mohammedan's previous lowest tally in the first phase was nine points from 11 matches during the ninth edition where they eventually finished 10th with 20 points from 22 matches.
The Black and Whites had secured only 13 points from 10 matches in the first phase of the fifth edition of the league, but they bounced back strongly in the second phase to eventually finish third with 34 points from 22 matches.
The team's new coach Sean Lane was disappointed with yesterday's result and he felt that no training system has developed in the club due to different coaching applying different methods.
“I have been here for the last two weeks. I understand Mohammedan is a big club in Bangladesh and the position they are in is not good. I will get 15 days before the next match and I will sit with the club officials, players and coaching staff. I will take my plan for mid-term players' transfers to the club and show what is good and what is bad for the squad and what we need to change during the transfers,” Lane said.
“It is possible to take Mohammedan up in the second phase because the players have the desire to perform better. The players are disappointed but working hard and training twice a day,” the Australian coach added.
The Motijheel-based club conceded the lead in the fourth minute when Rahmatganj forward Faisal Ahmed drove home from inside the box after Congolese striker Siyo Zunapio whipped in a cross from the right flank. However, Mohammedan hit back seven minutes later, with Habibur Rahman Shohag finding the back of the net with a superb left-footed volley from the edge of the box on a header from teammate Kingsley Chigozie.
After resumption, Mohammedan dominated proceedings and earned a spot-kick in the 57th minute, but Chigozie squandered the opportunity before Rahmatganj scored the winning goal from a counter-attack with Zunapio heading in a Sohel Rana cross home in the 74th minute.
The second win in 12 matches lifted Rahmatganj to 12 points in ninth position.
At the Sheikh Fazlul Haque Moni Stadium in Gopalganj, visitors Saif SC handed a 2-0 defeat on Muktijoddha Sangsad to maintain their fourth position in the table.
Russian striker Denis Bolshakov and local lad Rahim Uddin scored one goal each in the 48th and 52nd minutes for Saif SC, who raised their points tally to 23 from 12 matches while Muktijoddha Sangsad remained in sixth position with 15 points.