It was local man Mamunul Islam, former captain of Bangladesh, who was the hero as he made his return to the Dhanmondi-based club by scoring the only goal in the game
Abahani Limited made a winning start in the Federation Cup as the defending champion beat Bangladesh Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Chakra by a solitary goal at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka Sunday.
In the other match of the day at the same venue, Saif Sporting Club clinched a comfortable 3-1 victory over Team BJMC.
In their first assignment of the new season, Abahani fielded all of their foreign players —forwards Sunday Chizoba of Nigeria and Kervens Belfort of Haiti, midfielder Minhyeok Ko of South Korea and Afghan defender Masih Saighani.
But it was local man Mamunul Islam, former captain of Bangladesh, who was the hero as he made his return to the Dhanmondi-based club by scoring the only goal in the game.
Sunday, Belfort and Ko however, were impressive as they posed constant threat over the opponent’s defence line throughout the match.
Mamunul, who returned to the Dhanmondi outfit after a gap of 10 years, played a crucial role to keep control of midfield.
The season opening Federation Cup got underway at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka Saturday as Chittagong Abahani Limited beat Rahmatganj Muslim Friends Society 3-1 in a Group A encounter.https://t.co/fQCyXKJxdC#FEDERATIONCUP #FED #CUP #FEDERATION #CHITTAGONGABAHANI #BFF— Dhaka Tribune Sports (@Sport_DT) October 27, 2018
Initially Muktijoddha started the match with equal intensity as they orchestrated some attacks but the Sky Blues took the domination in the midfield gradually and controlled the game.
However, Muktijoddha’s Japanese midfielder Yousuke Kato and Ivory Coast striker Ballo Famoussa showed glimpses of brilliance.
Kato found a miss pass from Sunday in the 43rd minute and provided a pass to Ballo who dodged past a defender before attempting a shot from edge of the box but Abahani goalkeeper Shahidul Alam fisted it away for the cost of a corner.
Muktijoddha could have taken a lead into the third minute of the second half but Mohammed Sohel’s 20-yard effort hit the post after beating Sohel.
Abahani finally broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute when Belfort provided a cross and Sunday headed down to Mamunul who calmly put the ball in the right corner of the net.
After the goal, Muktijoddha’s goalie Nehal saved two consecutive Sunday efforts while his counterpart Sohel also denied Ballo in injury time.
Back to the other match, Saif Sporting got full three points, thanks to two penalty goals.
Saif Sporting went ahead in the fifth minute when BJMC’s Uzbek defender Furkat Jon bought down Seungil inside the box.
Later, the Korean striker converted from the spot to give Saif Sporting the early lead.
BJMC leveled the margin in the 12th minute when Abdullah al Mamun headed home following a neat free-kick by Uzbek midfielder Otabek from the left flank.
Saif Sporting’s English head coach Stewart Hall made a vital change in the 58th minute replacing Javed Khan for Jafar Iqbal, who took only three minutes to repay the faith by restoring the lead.
Left winger Yeasin Arafat provided a cross from the left and Jafar placed the ball home from a goalmouth melee.
Saif Sporting’s Russian striker Denis Bolshakov completed the rout in the 89th minute converting Saif’s second penalty of the match after Iliasu handled a free-kick of Jamal Bhuiyan inside the box.
Abahani 1 (Mamunul 63) 0 Muktijoddha
Saif Sporting 3 (Seungil 5-P, Jafar 61, Denis 89-P) 1 BJMC (Abdullah 12)