Title contenders Bashundhara Kings and Abahani began their Bangladesh Premier League second leg campaign in style as both teams notched wins over their respective opponents at different venues yesterday.
A brace from Matin Mia powered Bashundhara to their seventh straight win as the side inflicted a 3-1 defeat on Sheikh Jamal DC at the Sheikh Kamal Stadium in Nilphamari. Meanwhile, Abahani extended their winning streak to five by handing a 2-0 loss to newcomers NoFel SC with Sunday Chizoba and Nabib Newaj Jibon scoring one goal apiece at the Shaheed Bulu Stadium in Noakhali.
With their 12th win in 13 matches, Bashundhara sit on top of the table with 37 points, just four points ahead Abahani, who have 33 points from 13 matches.
At Nilphamari, visitors Sheikh Jamal gave their opponents a run for their money but Bashundhara Kings survived the initial scare before going on to win the match.
Sheikh Jamal came close to taking the lead trice within the first 25 minutes but the Dhanmondi-based outfit could not find the back of Bashundhara’s net, thanks to two brilliant saves by goalkeeper Anisur Rahman Ziko while Sheikh Jamal’s Gambian forward Ebou Kanteh floated the other over the crosspiece.
Bashundhara finally went ahead in the 36th minute through a spectacular low left-footed drive from Brazilian Marcos Vinicius, however, the lead only lasted 16 minutes as Sheikh Kamal equalised with their recently signed Gambian forward, Sambou, tapping one in after collecting a cutback from Kanteh.
Bashundhara restored the lead four minutes later when Matin Mia headed home a chip from Emon Babu before the same striker wrapped up the victory.
Away at the Shaheed Bulu Stadium, on-song strike pair Sunday and Jibon led Abahani from the front. Raihan Al Hasan contributed to both goals as Sunday and Jibon headed home in the 5th and 36th minutes respectively by availing Raihan’s typical long throw-ins.
At the Sheikh Fazlul Haque Moni Stadium in Gopalganj, Chittagong Abahani handed a massive 4-1 defeat to Muktijoddha Sangsad to secure their overall fourth win in 13 matches.
New-signing Kingsley Chigozie and Didarul Alam scored one goal apiece before Gambian Mamadou Bah struck twice to help Chittagong Abahani topple Muktijoddha with 17 points.
At the Sylhet District Stadium, Sheikh Russel KC beat Arambagh KS 2-1. Zahid Hossain got Arambagh ahead in first half before Raphael Odoyin struck a brace for Sheikh Russel to hand the side their ninth win in 13 matches.