Two fiercest archrivals of the country Abahani Limited and Mohammedan Sporting Club will lock horns with each other for the first time this season to begin their seventh round of Bangladesh Premier League at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Wednesday at 6.30pm.
The rivalry between the two traditional clubs is not like before and has been failing to pull crowds like they used to do in Dhaka Derby in early days. Mohammedan never won a professional league title in last one decade while Abahani clinched the title four times with the last one being five years ago.
The current circumstances put the Sky Blues far ahead of their archrivals. They are seven points ahead of Mohammedan with only six rounds played so far to sit jointly at second place in the premier league table with 12 points. The Sky Blues also reached the final of Independence Cup and won the Federation Cup this season.
The Black and Whites, on the other hand, are yet to win a single game in the league this season but they have managed five draws, more than any other side so far. They placed at bottom half in the table at 9th position with only five points. They failed to reach last-four in any professional tournament this season.
The quality and strenghth of the squad also put Abahani ahead. Guided by veteran coach George Kottan, the Sky Blues have one of the best playmakers in the league with English Lee Andrew Tuck who has been immense so far in his debut season. Experienced Sunday Chizoba is also finding his form back while Hemanta Vincent Biswas is also close to make his full return. They have most number of players in the national team while Mohammedan's squad is weaker than previous seasons having no player from national team.
The two sides face each other 17 times in 10 years of professional league history with Abahani winning five times and Mohammedan won four while eight encounters ended in draw. Last time they face in the league previous season Mohammedan, however, won it narrowly by 1-0.
Abahani head coach George Kottan said, “It will be a game of three points and we want to move ahead winning the match. We are prepared to play against Mohammedan. If we can win the rest of the matches in this phase it will give us advantage in the second phase.”
Mohammedan head coach Jashimuddin Joshi is not very optimistic ahead of the Dhaka Derby. “We don't have same strong team like we had previous season. Tomorrow's [Wednesday] game has special importance as the match is between Mohammedan and Abahani. We will take on the field with proper preparation. They [Abahani] are stronger than us this season. They are balanced team with three quality foreign players.”
Baishakhi TV will telecast the match live.