Young Elephants fought well, coming back from one-goal down to take the lead in the first half but a tactical change by Maruful Haque in the second half put the home side back into the driving seat and Jamal Bhuiyan led the side from the front with change to his playing position into attacking midfield
Jamal Bhuiyan scored one and assisted two as four-star Chittagong Abahani Limited moved closer to the semi-final of the Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup after beating Young Elephants of Laos 4-2 in their second Group A match at MA Aziz Stadium in the port city Wednesday evening.
Elephants fought well, coming back from one-goal down to take the lead in the first half but a tactical change by Maruful Haque in the second half put the home side back into the driving seat and Jamal led the side from the front with change to his playing position into attacking midfield.
The host could have taken the lead three minutes right after kick-off when Arifur Rahman’s header from a long cross by Rahmat Mia was saved by Laos goalkeeper Solasak Thilavong, who produced a penalty save in their last game against Mohun Bagan Athletic Club.
Nigerian forward Chinedu Mathew put the home side ahead six minutes later with a brilliant toe-poke finish from a position between two defenders after Montenegrin striker Luka Rotkovic fooled a defender and provided a cutback to Mathew in the middle.
The delight didn’t last long as Elephants defender Aphixay Thanakhanty scored a beautiful goal from a free-kick in the 14th minute.
Aphixay’s powerful strike from 25 yards gave Chittagong Abahani goalkeeper Mohammad Nehal no chance on his left side.
Jamal Bhuiyan will only be interested to play in the Indian Super League if there is good offer from the respective clubs, said the star captain of Bangladesh football team Tuesday after receiving offers from the agents of ISL franchises.https://t.co/wk9dAGOWP2#JAMAL #BHUIYAN— Dhaka Tribune Sports (@Sport_DT) October 22, 2019
The Laos keeper made a diving save to deny captain Jamal Bhuiyan’s free-kick from 25 yards out in the 24th minute.
Forward Somxay Keohanam, who was the hero of their win against Bagan in the last match, put his young side ahead in the 33rd minute, utilizing a misplaced pass by Uzbek defender Ikbol Jon with a neat placing after dodging past a defender.
The home side began the second half with a more attacking instinct and restored parity within nine minutes through a side header by Rotkovic following a precise cross from Jamal from the left flank.
Jamal sealed the winner in the 72nd minute with a powerful left-footed strike from the top of the box after a long Rahmat throw-in moved haphazardly inside the box before arriving in front of the Bangladesh captain.
Ivory Coast midfielder Jean Charles Didier extended the lead six minutes later heading home a Jamal corner from the left flag.
Elephants could have pulled one back in the 85th minute but Nehal made a save to deny substitute forward Chitpasong Latthachak’s shot in a one-on-one situation.
Jamal Bhuiyan is currently captaining Chittagong Abahani Limited as a loanee in the Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup, and on the eve of his side’s inaugural game, the Bangladesh captain gave a long interview to @DhakaTribune Saturday.https://t.co/g4hm5wPnG5#JAMALBHUIYAN #BFF— Dhaka Tribune Sports (@Sport_DT) October 19, 2019
Aphixay hit the woodwork from a 30-yard free-kick three minutes later.
Elephants head coach Selvaraj Vengadasalam said after the game that they lacked experience playing against a more physical team but praised his boys for being mentally strong and fighting back, despite going a goal down in the first half.
Chittagong Abahani head coach Maruful said, “We analyzed their game against Bagan and they fought better than we expected. We made some tactical changes in the second half which worked well to win us the game.”
Jamal remained calm despite being adjudged the best player of the game in consecutive matches, saying, “I’m in good shape for playing and training continuously for the last one month. Normally I don’t score many goals but [Wednesday] I played in No 8 role in the second half and got the goal. I don’t care much about scoring or assisting but what matters most is winning the game.”
Chittagong Abahani will face Bagan in the final group match Friday and a draw would be enough to send them through to the last four.
Ctg Abahani 4 (Mathew 9, Rotkovic 54, Jamal 72, Didier 78) 2 Young Elephants (Aphixay 14, Somxay 33)