Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra kicked off their Bangladesh Premier League 2016-17 season in style as a brace from Dawda Ceesay helped the former treble winner outplay Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Chakra 3-0 at Bangabandhu National Stadium on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Chittagong Abahani Limited also made a flying start with a comfortable 2-0 win over Old Dhaka outfit Farashganj Sporting Club in the second match of the day, thanks to a vibrant display from national winger Zahid Hossain.
Gambian forward Ceesay was the star of the day, scoring one apiece in the either side of each half while midfielder Khalekur Zaman added the other.
The first half-hour was a dull affair though before Sheikh Russel netted two quick goals within four minutes to enable themselves to the driving seat.
Khalekur gave Sheikh Russel the lead in the 33rd minute as his header, following a cross from defender Atiqur Rahman Meshu, entered the net beating the onrushing Muktis goalkeeper Uttam Barua.
Ceesay doubled the lead four minutes later.
Captain Shahedul Alam Shahed’s neat through pass set up Ceesay at the edge of the box and the Gambian forward dodged past his marker before firing home with a cracking left-footer.
Muktijoddha had chances to pull one back in the last five minutes of the opening half with Sheikh Russel keeper Ziaur Rahman denying Motiur Rahman’s shot with a decent save before midfielder Saikat Mahmud Munna saw his effort rebound off the sidepost.
Egyptian forward Zaki Sarhan headed inches over the crossbar in the 57th minute, following a cross from defender Saidul Haque from the right flank.
Ceesay netted his second in the 78th minute after unselfish work by Alamgir Kabir Rana.
Rana broke into the penalty area before cutting inside the Muktis custodian but instead of taking shot of his own, the former national midfielder cut back to Ceesay, who smashed home into an empty net from the middle of the box.
Rana squandered a great chance in the 86th minute as he failed to receive a cut-back from Ceesay at the edge of six-yard box.
Four minutes later, Ceesay hit the sidepost with a grounder from 20 yards.
Meanwhile, inconsistent winger Zahid guided big-spending club Chittagong Abahani to a convincing win.
The port city outfit went ahead in the 42nd minute through an own goal by Malick Mendy when Farashganj's Gambian recruit converted a Zahid cross into his own net.
National forward Tawhidul Alam Sabuj doubled the lead in the injury time of the first half when he placed home from the top of the six-yard box from a precise Zahid free-kick.
Eleven minutes after resumption, Mamunul Islam’s powerful strike was saved by Farashganj netminder Ashim Das after Zahid’s cool-headed cut-back found the midfielder inside the box.
Sheikh Russel 3
(Khalekur 33, Ceesay 37, 78) 0 Muktijoddha
Chittagong Abahani 2
(Mendy 42 - OG, Sabuj 45+1) 0 Farashganj