Dhaka Abahani Limited closed the gap to only two points with the leader of the Bangladesh Premier Football League after handing Chittagong Abahani a 1-0 defeat in their 11th round match at Bangabandhu National Stadium Friday.
Meanwhile in the day's other game at the same venue, Nigerian forward Raphael Onwrebe netted a brilliant hat-trick as Lt. Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club Limited outplayed Farashganj Sporting Club 5-0.
Both the results blew the title race wide open ahead of the second phase of the premier league, likely to start next month. Chittagong Abahani remained at the top of the points table with 26 points from 11 matches but Abahani and Sheikh Jamal are breathing right down their necks with only two points separating the sides. Goal difference put Sheikh Jamal at second place while Farashganj remained at the bottom with only six points.
The traditional Sky Blues began the game slowly but started gathering momentum as the match wore on. They almost came close to scoring in the 39th minute when a cross by Rubel Mia from the right flank found Nabib Newaj Jibon at the middle of the box. Jibon’s header was blocked by defender Alison Udoka for a corner.
Veteran defender Nasir Uddin Chowdhury finally gave the Sky Blues the lead in the 77th minute, heading home into the near post following a long throw-in from Rayhan Hasan from the right side.
In the 81st minute, Chittagong Abahani goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana made a brilliant save to deny Rubel's shot from the top of the box in a one-on-one situation. Rubel had another big chance, similar to the previous one, in the dying stages of the game, only to see his effort denied again by Rana.
Meanwhile, all of Sheikh Jamal’s goals came in the amazing first half including five goals within half an hour. Raphael took the lead in the third minute before Yeasin Khan headed home a Zahed Parvez corner to double the lead two minutes later.
Raphael completed his treble, scoring two more goals in the 25th and 30th minutes, thanks to assists from Zahed and Javed Khan respectively. Raphael netted his fourth to complete the rout five minutes later.
(Nasir 77) 0 Ctg Abahani
Sk Jamal 5
(Raphael 3, 25, 30, 35, Zahed 5) 0 Farashganj