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Dhaka Tribune

Abahani cite lack of action for Maziya draw

Lack of understanding and communication were evident against the new Maldives champion Wednesday after Abahani took to the pitch for the first time in more than a month

Update : 07 Feb 2020, 12:20 AM

Abahani players blamed not playing any competitive game for more than a month for the lackluster home draw against Maziya Sports and Recreation Club in the AFC Cup qualifying play-offs and are determined to come back stronger in the away leg next week.

The Sky Blues played only three matches in the season opening tournament, Federation Cup, since the conclusion of the last domestic season in August 2019. 

Lack of understanding and communication were evident against the new Maldives champion Wednesday after they took to the pitch for the first time in more than a month.      

"It was perhaps because we played a competitive game after a long time and that too in an international match. We started slowly and missed many chances but 2-2 is still a good result compared to our record [2-0 defeats at home and away] against the same side two years ago," admitted experienced Mamunul Islam Thursday.    

Abahani must now win away or play out a draw scoring two goals or more in Male Wednesday to advance to the final stage of the qualifying play-offs. 

"It will be tough but we faced and overcame such situations during the last edition. Now we know more about them, their strengths and the key players. Hopefully we will play better in Male," said Mamunul.

It was different situation during their unprecedented success in the AFC Cup last year as they began the competition directly from the group stages after the start of the Bangladesh Premier League. 

National striker Nabib Newaj Jibon, echoing the same tone as Mamunul, reminded this while admitting that they could have done better against Maziya.

“We played the last AFC Cup when the league was going on and the team was in good shape, not like how it is now. We didn't play any game for a long time so the game was a bit disorganized while Maziya have been in competition before coming here. But yet we managed a draw," said the Abahani captain. 

Some players were involved in national team assignments while the rest none, making synchronization between the two groups another challenge for Mario Lemos and his charges. 

Jibon added, "We will have better understanding in the next game because it’s like do-or-die. It will be tough but we must win away."

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