Reigning champion Dhaka Abahani Limited continued their sheer dominance over arch-rivals Mohammedan Sporting Club Limited with a comfortable 2-0 win in the 14th round of the Bangladesh Premier League at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka Wednesday.
Nigerian striker Sunday Chizoba rose to the occasion once again as it was his superb brace which ensured the Sky Blues' fourth straight victory over the Black and Whites in the last four Dhaka derbies.
The victory helped the Sky Blues close the gap to five points with table-topper Chittagong Abahani Limited, who beat Team BJMC 2-0 in the day's first match at the same venue. Both Abahani and Lt. Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club now have 30 points from 14 games while Mohammedan remained sixth with 17 points.
Despite the absence of first-team defender Rayhan Hasan, who sustained ankle injury against Farashganj Sporting Club in the last match, Abahani’s defence stood tall to claim their first clean-sheet in the second phase. Veteran Ghanaian defender Samad Yusuf returned to the playing XI while Nabib Newaj Jibon replaced Emeka Darlington upfront.
Last season’s top-scorer, Sunday appeared threatening to the Mohammedan defence from the very beginning and the tall Nigerian duly put the Sky Blues ahead in the first minute of the two-minute added time of the opening half after defender Asaduzzaman Bablu fouled Sunday from behind inside the box. The Nigerian striker made no mistake netting his first goal in the league this season by placing home into the bottom right corner.
Mohammedan went close to equalising five minutes into the second half but Abahani goalkeeper Shahidul Alam Sohel made a brilliant save with a dive to his right to deny Nigerian midfielder Samson Iliasu's strike. The Black and Whites had their best chance at the hour mark after Samson earned a penalty but Nigerian forward Nkwocha Kingsley shot wide off the left post from the spot.
Sunday doubled the lead in the 67th minute with a glancing header following a precise cross by Jibon from the left flank. Sunday went close to sealing his hat-trick in the 76th minute but his shot from the right side of the box was punched away to safety by Mohammedan keeper Mamun Khan.
Meanwhile in the day's other game, Chittagong Abahani handed Team BJMC a 2-0 defeat to extend their lead to five points at the top of the points table. They now have 35 points from 14 matches.
In-form national winger Zahid Hossain, who scored in the last two games, took a fine free-kick in the 31st minute from which Nigerian defender Alison Udoka connected a header to give the port city outfit the lead from the top of the six-yard box. Youngster Jafar Iqbal doubled the lead in injury time, heading home a Mohammad Abdullah corner.
(Sunday 45+1, 67) 0 Mohammedan
Ctg Abahani 2
(Udoka 31, Jafar 90+1) 0 BJMC
Rahmatganj v Brothers, 4:30pm
Sk Russel v Sk Jamal, 6:45pm
Both the games will be held at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka