Reigning champion Dhaka Abahani Limited returned to winning ways after a hard-fought 2-1 win over bottom-side Farashganj Sporting Club in their second match of the second phase at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka Saturday.
Earlier in the day’s other game at the same venue, Chittagong Abahani Limited edged past Mohammedan Sporting Club Limited 1-0 to stay at the top of the points table.
Youngster Rubel Mia and Nigerian striker Emeka Darlington scored one apiece for Abahani in the second half to ensure the three points for the Sky Blues while winger Zahid Hossain netted the all-important goal for Chittagong Abahani early in the first half which was enough for the port city club to register their second straight victory.
Chittagong Abahani moved five points clear of second-placed Lt. Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club Limited at the top. Chittagong Abahani now have 32 points from 13 games while Abahani moved back to third with 27 points. Sheikh Jamal also have the same number of points but find themselves second thanks to a superior goal difference. Mohammedan remained sixth with 17 points while Farashganj stayed at the relegation zone with only six points.
Abahani made four changes to the starting XI from the previous match, bringing in Emeka, midfielder Imtiaz Sultan Jitu, young forward Saad Uddin and defender Tutul Hossain Badshah in place of defenders Samad Yussif and Mamun Mia, Rubel and midfielder Nabib Newaj Jibon.
Replacing defender Rayhan Hasan, national forward Rubel made an immediate impact after coming off the bench by putting the Sky Blues ahead five minutes into the second half. A corner by veteran defender Waly Faisal was brilliantly converted by Rubel at the near post.
Nigerian forward Chinedu Mathew cancelled the lead in the 74th minute after exchanging quick passes with Afzal Hossain. Afzal broke into the right side of the box before feeding the ball for Mathew whose shot deflected off a defender before entering the net.
Emeka put Abahani ahead again in the 81st minute from a penalty after substitute Mosiur Islam fouled Sunday Chizoba from behind at the top of the box. Emeka sent the Mohammedan goalkeeper the wrong way.
Meanwhile in the day's first game, Chittagong Abahani put up yet another solid defensive display to bag their 10th win of the league.
A minute after Zahid's header was collected perfectly by the Mohammedan keeper, the national winger gave Chittagong Abahani the lead 12 minutes into the clock, tapping home from the six-yard box following Haitian forward Leonel Preux’s low cross from the left flank.
Chittagong Abahani wasted at least two big chances to double their lead in the second half, including Biplu Ahmed's off-target shot at the start of the second half and Towhidul Alam Sabuj's untimely effort in the 63rd minute.
(Rubel 50, Emeka 81 - P) 1 Farashganj
Ctg Abahani 1
(Zahid 12) 0 Mohammedan