Saif Sporting Club made a powerful start under Zulfikar Mahmud Mintu, thrashing Police FC 4-1 at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday to move to fourth position in the Bangladesh Premier League table.
The Federation Cup finalists released Belgian coach Paul Put last week following a poor start to the league, which saw them lose four out of their first 10 matches. However, Paul Put's last match in charge was a scrappy 2-1 win over Uttar Baridhara and the Saif players under the new coach looked more determined and sharper as they cruised to a big victory.
Saif's Nigerian strikers John Okoli and Kenneth Ikechukwu threatened to score from very early but it took them 44 minutes to break the deadlock. Ikechukwu, who saw his shot from 20 yards rattle the crossbar on 20 minutes, hit the target with a powerful shot from the edge of the box, the ball hitting the bottom of the bar before bouncing inside the goalline.
The second goal came only three minutes later, Okoli beating Police goalkeeper Mohammad Nehal at his near post after speeding across the box to keep a powerful cross from going past the touchline.
Police kept themselves in the game with Jamir Uddin's header reducing the margin in the 61st minute, but Okoli re-established Saif's two-goal cushion in the 87th minute with a brilliant solo effort, running down the pitch on a counter-attack before placing the ball past Nehal.
Substitute Sazzad Hossain put the icing on the cake with a curling effort four minutes into stoppage time after receiving a clever through-pass inside the box from Faisal Ahmed Fahim.
The win took Saif to 19 points from 11 matches while Police remained in eighth position with 12 points from same number of matches.
Meanwhile, Brothers Union got a crucial 5-2 win over Arambagh KS in the battle of the two bottom sides in the second match of the day. Ibrahim Moro had given Arambagh the lead in the 10th minute but Brothers hit back to win the high-scoring encounter to move five points, keeping Arambagh on a single point.