Race for second spot hots up
With the title of the Bangladesh Premier League already decided, the battle for the runners-up spot heated up as Federation Cup runners-up Saif SC, struggling giants Mohammedan SC and rejuvenated Chattogram Abahani notched victories in their respective matches yesterday.
Saif maintained their unbeaten record in the professional league against Sheikh Russel KC after handing them an emphatic 4-2 defeat at the Bangabandhu National Stadium, which also saw Chattogram Abahani beat Bangladesh Police 4-1 under the floodlights.
Away at the Bangladesh Army Stadium in Banani, Mohammedan beat relegation-threatened Brothers Union 2-0.
With their 11th win in 20 matches, Chattogram Abahani moved to 37 points, two behind Sheikh Jamal DC, who however have a game in hand. Mohammedan, meanwhile, raised their tally to 36 points from 20 outings, staying just ahead of sixth-placed Saif, who now have 32 points from 19 matches.
On the rain-soaked pitch at the BNS, Saif SC put the pressure on Sheikh Russel from the outset and the early pressure led to the opening goal in the 10th minute when Sheikh Russel defender Asaduzzaman Babul struck the ball into his own net while attempting to clear a rebound, with John O'koli's shot coming off the crossbar.
Sheikh Russel reacted quickly to equalise with a fine strike from Obi Moneke four minutes later.
Saif, however, went to the break with a comfortable 3-1 lead after Kenneth Ikechukwu Ngwoke drove an Abid Ahmed cross home in the 27th minute before O'koli made it 3-1 with a nod off a Ngwoke header in the 40th minute.
Ikechukwu widened the margin in the 52nd minute after letting loose a 25-yard drive past keeper Ashraful Islam Rana.
Obi Moneke pulled another goal back in the 63rd minute but could not help Sheikh Russel avoid their fourth defeat in six league matches against Saif SC.
At the Army Stadium, Shahed Mia broke the deadlock to give Mohammedan a 41st-minute lead against Brothers Union before Suleymane Diabate wrapped up the victory in the 83rd minute.