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Abahani off to flying start

  • Published at 07:33 pm December 18th, 2019
Sunday
Abahani's Sunday Chizoba in action during their Fed Cup match against Police in Dhaka Wednesday Dhaka Tribune

Haitian winger Kervens Belfort netted a brace, in the either side of each half, while national striker Nabib Newaj Jibon and Nigerian striker Sunday Chizoba scored one apiece in the opening half to salvage all three points in Group A

Holder Abahani Limited kicked off the TVS Federation Cup campaign in style after handing newcomer Bangladesh Police FC 4-0 in the inaugural game of the season-opening tournament at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka Wednesday.

Haitian winger Kervens Belfort netted a brace, in the either side of each half, while national striker Nabib Newaj Jibon and Nigerian striker Sunday Chizoba scored one apiece in the opening half to salvage all three points in Group A.

Portuguese tactician Mario Lemos fielded three new signings - Nasir Uddin Chowdhury, Brazilian defender Mailson Alves and Kyrgyz midfielder Edgar Bernhardt – in the starting XI.

Nasir returned to his former stomping ground in defensive midfield after spending one year at Bashundhara Kings last season.

Police left Montenegrin striker Luka Rotkovic out of the squad, while Kyrgyz defender Artur Muladzhanov, Bulgarian and Kyrgyz midfielder Laskov Antonio and Aider Mambetaliev, and American forward Sideny Rivera started with no notable contributions.

It was Mailson who first went close to scoring in the 10th minute but his floating header following a long throw-in by Rayhan Hasan was denied by the crossbar.

Four minutes later, Nasir’s powerful right-footer from outside the box flew inches over the bar.

Six-time Bangladesh Premier League champion Abahani continued to dominate the midfield while Belfort, Sunday and Jibon creating chances upfront.

Belfort scored the first goal of the season with a glancing side-header from an unmarked position in the middle of the box following a free-kick by Bernhardt in the 28th minute.

Jibon doubled the lead four minutes later with a simple tap-in over the goal-line after another long Rayhan throw-in was headed by an opponent defender towards his own post.

Sunday put the Sky Blues completely in the driving seat with a 3-0 lead two minutes before the break, firing home with a fierce left-footer after Sohel’s cross was headed down by Belfort. 

The Nigerian striker left the pitch injured after the goal and replaced by Mamunul Islam.

Bernhardt was also replaced by Jewel Rana in the second half due to injury.

Police, making their debut in professional football, tried to gather some momentum after resumption but the players failed to hit the target on most of the occasions.

Mambetaliev shot over the bar from the top of the box within a minute into the second half, while Muladzhanov’s long-range left-footer from 30 yards flew inches over the bar in the 57th minute.

Belfort extended the lead converting a penalty that originated from a handball in the 71st minute, sending goalkeeper Arifuzzaman Himel the wrong way.

Himel rescued his side’s blushes by producing a brilliant save to deny Jibon’s close-range effort after Saad slid the ball onto his path five minutes before the end of stipulated time.

Abahani will conclude their Group A campaign against Arambagh Tuesday.

Abahani 

Shahidul Alam; Rayhan Hasan, Tutul Hossain, Mailson Alves, Saad Uddin; Nasir Uddin, Edgar Bernhardt (Jewel Rana), Sohel Rana; Kervens Belfort (Mohammad Sohel Rana), Nabib Newaj Jibon, Sunday Chizoba (Mamunul Islam).

Police 

Arifuzzaman Himel; Khan Mohammad Tara, Arif Khan Joy, Isa Faysal, Artur Muladzhanov; Nazmul Islam Rasel (Naimur Rahman Shahed), Sidney Rivera, MS Bablu, Mohammad Shadhin, Aider Mambetaliev.

RESULT

Abahani 4 (Belfort 28, 71, Jibon 32, Sunday 43) 0 Police

THURSDAY'S MATCHES

Saif v Rahmatganj 

Kings v Brothers 

Both the games will be held in Dhaka