Sheikh Russel cruise past Ctg Abahani
Title contenders Sheikh Russel KC set up their Federation Cup semifinal clash with holders Sheikh Jamal after they notched up a 2-0 win over Chittagong Abahani in the third quarterfinal at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
Nigerian Kingsley Chigozie gave the 2012-13 season's treble winners a 41-minute lead before Cameroonian forward Paul Emile doubled the lead on 56 minutes to confirm the last-four berth after a one-year gap.
Having shrugged off their poor performance in the previous match, Sheikh Russel put up a better display over their opponents from the port city but the Blues still were lacking combination in midfielder, thanks to the absence of injured playmakers Hemanta Vincent Biswas and Zahid Hossain.
Chittagong Abahani, who came into the quarterfinals after holding giants Abahani to a goalless draw, looked good in quick attacks but they could hardly unsettle the backline of Sheikh Russel except the one in which Chittagong Abahani could have taken a lead in the first half.
Khaled Ahmed worked hard from the right side to dart into the box before releasing a nice low ball for Guinean Mamadou Lamaranna for a tap-in which he missed.
Nigerian Kingsley Chigozie nicely chested down a Zahid Hasan Emily cross before firing a brilliant side-volley only to be denied by the crosspiece on 25 minutes before Yousuf Sifat's shot unbelievably floated over the crosspiece inside the six-yard box on the half-hour mark.
Kingsley soon made amends to give Sheikh Russel a deserved lead in the 41st minute, this time he again chested down another Emily cross and placed the ball over goalkeeper Mohammedan Selim.
After resumption, Sheikh Russel looked more organized to enjoy the lion's share of ball possession and thus doubled the lead with an eye-catching strike from Paul Emile, who suddenly drove a dipping shot from 30 yards to give Abahani goalkeeper no chance to react in the 56th minute.
The margin could have been widened but Emily flicked a Sohel Rana cross off the crosspiece inside the six-yard box and Sheikh Russel were content with a comfortable win before facing star-studded Sheikh Jamal DC in the first semifinal on Sunday.