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Abahani crush Mohammedan to keep title bid alive

Staff Correspondent
23 Jun 2022 00:00:00 | Update: 23 Jun 2022 01:11:56
Abahani crush Mohammedan to keep title bid alive
Abahani players celebrate a goal during their 4-2 win over Mohammedan in the Bangladesh Premier League in Cumilla on Wednesday – BFF Photo

Abahani Limited rolled over archrivals Mohammedan Sporting Club beating them 4-2 at the Shaheed Dhirendranath Datta Stadium in Cumilla on Wednesday and kept their chase for the Bangladesh Premier League title alive.

The Sky Blues are six points behind defending champions Bashundhara Kings, who lead the table with 41 points.

In Wednesday’s game, Abahani had a host of chances but failed to convert several on a difficult pitch.

Abahani applied early pressure, pegging Mohammedan back with three straight corners in the opening 10 minutes.

Abahani talisman Daniel Colindres took all three and after two unsuccessful ones directed at the near-post, the Costa Rican took matters into his own hands and scored directly from the corner as he swirled one in at the top corner of the far-post in the eighth minute.

The Sky Blues wasted no time on their gained momentum and doubled their lead in the 10th minute.

Brazilian midfielder Raphael Augusto unlocked the Mohammedan defence with a lobbed pass, met by his compatriot striker Dorielton Gomes, who provided a scintillating finish.

Dori smartly received the cross and brought it onto his right foot, baffling two Mohammedan defenders and spearing it into the far-post.

Conceding the second goal came as a blessing for Mohammedan as they managed to bring out their best in the following 10 minutes. A good phase of possession and composure on the ball paid dividends as they got one back in the 18th minute, courtesy of striker Souleymane Diabate.

Mohammedan left-back Alomgir Molla stayed wide and swooped in a cross into the box, met with a smartly taken side-footed volley by Diabate.

But their solid phase slowly faded as Abahani grew more and more into the game. Dori alone had three clearcut chances to bury the game, but he couldn’t find the net.

Abahani took a blow in the 39th minute as their midfield maestro Raphael had to go off limping. But it came as a blessing in disguise as his substitution, midfielder Emon Babu, scored after four minutes of coming on.

The usual suspect, Colindres, came in off the left flank and found space between two defenders as he got a shot away. Mohammedan goalkeeper Mohammed Hossain Sujon punched it away, but the rebound fell to Emon, who slotted it home from 15 yards and put his team 3-1 up.

But the action got fast-tracked in the dying minutes of the first half as Mohammedan scored in the 47th minute to make it 3-2. Forward Shahriar Emon’s individual brilliance made the difference in the final third. He received a long ball from across the field and took on the left-back with menace. He went past two defenders and feigned one more with his fake shot before he scored with a left-footed shot.

With five minutes of stoppage time, Abahani seemed to up the ante in their hunt for a fourth goal. They earned back-to-back corners and it was Colindres again to deliver the goods. His cross was smartly headed home by Dori, who scored his second in the 49th minute as they finished the half with a two-goal advantage.

The second half, in comparison, saw less action, and Abahani managed to nullify several Mohammedan attempts.

However, a lifeline was handed to them by Abahani in the 79th minute when defender Rezaul Karim Reza was shown a second yellow and was sent off for crashing into winger Alomgir.

Reza, already on a yellow, had a brain fade moment and did little to refute the referee’s decision as the contest showed signs of heating up and living up to past expectations.

Despite having a man down, Abahani gave little away but had to endure a hiccup in the 89th minute when Alomgir, against the run of play, scored from inside the box but was disallowed for offside.

Mohammedan put together a few precise passes as midfielder Sheikh Morsalin nestled one to Alomgir inside the opposition’s box but striker Diabate had strayed into an offside position and blocked the vision of the goalkeeper, and the goal was deemed offside, crushing any hopes of a Mohammedan comeback.