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Dhaka Tribune

Underdog NoFeL beat favorite Saif to lift title

Saif dominated the game with more ball possession, and created more chances, but it was NoFeL who had the last laugh after striker Arman Hossain Abir utilized a defensive error to score the all-important goal in the 81st minute

Update : 02 Oct 2019, 09:32 PM

Relegated Bangladesh Premier League side, NoFeL Sporting Club clinched the title of the Walton-BFF U-18 Football Tournament 2018-19 after edging past tournament favorite Saif Sporting Club 1-0 in the final at Bir Sresthha Shaheed Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Dhaka Wednesday.

Saif dominated the game with more ball possession, and created more chances, but it was NoFeL who had the last laugh after striker Arman Hossain Abir utilized a defensive error to score the all-important goal in the 81st minute.

NoFeL took the defensive strategy and played with five defenders whilst looking for counter attacks. 

Mohammad Piash ran down the left wing from the halfway before and delivered a cross inside the box but left-back Mohammad Momin failed to clear as Abir punished him with a neat placing shot.

Akbar Hossain Ridon, who retired from professional football last season, was over the moon after winning silverware in his debut assignment as head coach. 

“I started the tournament with a target to become champion, but nobody believed me. I worked mainly with tactics and played most of the games with 5-4-1 formation. I’m happy that the strategy worked,” said Ridon.

Ridon worked under Saif head coach Kamal Babu as a player for many years and as assistant coach last season. 

Babu said, “Underdog can beat any big team any time and this is exactly what happened. We squandered too many chances and conceded the goal for silly defensive error. It’s unforgivable.”

There were complaints from Bashundhara Kings regarding a NoFeL player named Amin Ahmed being over-aged after the semi-finals that ended on penalties. 

Amin didn’t play the final.

NoFeL will play in the second-tier Bangladesh Championship League next season after getting relegated from the top-flight last season where they finished 12th out of 13 teams. 

Ridon informed that they will keep most of the U-18 players in the senior team.

Abir, who scored highest three goals to become joint top scorer along with five other players, said after the final, “Team work won us the trophy. Every player gave their 100% to execute the coach’s plan. I want to play for the main team.”

Meanwhile, it was not Abir but defender Mohammad Raqib who was adjudged player of the final. 

Rashedul Islam of Bashundhara Kings became the most valuable player of the tournament. 

NoFeL received Tk3 lakhs as prize money while Saif got Tk2 lakhs, along with the fair play trophy.


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