Sheikh Russel, Ctg Abahani tie 2-2
The round-15 opener of Saif Power Battery sponsored BPL kicked off at 4:30pm at Bangabandhu National Stadium in the capital.
Although Chittagong Abahani are enjoying the top spot of the table but currently fifth ranked Sheikh Russel made a dominating start against their counterpart.
The attacking strategies of Russel got paid off early in the 6th minute of the match when they broke the deadlock. Their midfielder Monaem Khan Raju took a cross shot from the left wing and the ball touched the net in the far post.
Monaem came into attack just after two minutes but his fellow footballer Zaki Sarhan missed an opportunity to double their lead.
Chittagong’s Md Mamunul Islam injured himself in the 30th as he was replaced by Md Abdullah.
Russel created couple more chances in the first half but the final touch to net was missing in every case. However, they were looking much confident in yesterday’s match after their back to defeats in previous two rounds in the second leg of BPL.
Chittagong substitute Abdullah proved worthwhile inclusion when his set piece kick from the midfield was converted into a goal by their Haitian forward Leonel Saint Preux in the 43rd minute.
Russel’s hope of ending the first half with a lead was spoiled as the scoreline became 1-1.
Two yellow cards were handed by the referee in the first half. Chittagong’s midfielder Sohel Rana (31st minute) and Russel’s defender Sohel Rana (41st minute) were handed cards for illegal charging.
The second half of the close encounter was equally competitive from both ends. Coach Shafiqul Islam Manik’s team Sheikh Russel had two goal scoring chances between 70 and 80 minute but Chittagong denied them tactfully. Chittagong captain Zahid Hossain’s header from Abdullah’s cross pass put them in command in the 83rd minute and the score became 2-1.
Abahani coach Saiful Bari Titu replaced forward Preux with Nigerian defender Mufta Lawal to defend their post in the last few minutes. But his strategy backfired as Russel’s Haitian forward Jacques Francois scored from a header in the 88th minute, courtesy of a perfectly placed set piece kick from their captain Uttam Kumar Banik.
Two more matches are billed in today’s fixture of 15th round of BPL. Title contender Lt Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club Ltd will face Rahmatganj Muslim Friends Society in the first match at 4:30pm while Mohammedan Sporting Club Ltd will play against Farashganj Sporting Club at 6:45pm.
Both the matches will be played at Bangabandhu National Stadium.