Reigning champion Dhaka Abahani Limited stumbled once again as they played out a goalless draw in their fourth Bangladesh Premier League match, against Team BJMC at Bangabandhu National Stadium on Friday.
The inclusion of foreign attacking duo Emeka Darlington and Landing Darboe in the starting XI for the first time in the league this season couldn’t solve Abahani’s current scoring crisis against their weaker opponent.
The Sky Blues managed to find the back of the net only once in the last three matches and that too came in the late stage of the game against archrival Mohammedan Sporting Club Limited in the previous round.
After beating big-spending newcomer Saif Sporting Club in the league opener, Abahani conceded a shocking defeat against Farashganj Sporting Club in the second round.
The draw however, saw the Sky Blues move to third place with seven points from four matches, two points behind leaders Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club Limited and Chittagong Abahani Limited, both of whom have played a game less.
BJMC remained at 10th position with only two points from the same number of outings.
Abahani’s Croatian head coach Drago Mamic made two changes to the squad from the previous game with Gambian midfielder Darboe starting for his new club, replacing Shahedul Alam Shahed, while young defender Tutul Hossain Badshah came in place of Ghanaian veteran defender Samad Yussif.
The five-time professional league champion Abahani went close to scoring with only three minutes into the clock when midfielder Emon Mahmud’s strike from outside the box following a Darboe pass hit the sidepost.
The Sky Blues made another promising attack in the 21st minute when young forward Saad Uddin shot wide after Darboe forwarded a Rubel Mia pass from the top of the box.
Darboe continued to threaten the opponent’s terrain but his combination with Emeka didn’t prove to be effective.
Darboe curved a free-kick from 25 yards out as it hit the sidepost in the 38th minute.
In the 43rd minute, Rubel saw his side-volley from the middle of the box fly over after Saad’s low cross from the right flank set up the in-form winger.
Abahani will take on Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra in their next match on Friday.
Sheikh Russel will face Chittagong Abahani in Saturday's lone match at the same venue.
Abahani 0 0 BJMC
Sheikh Russel v Chittagong Abahani, BNS, 5:30pm