Abahani Limited retained the title of the Khwaja Rahmatullah Club Cup Hockey Tournament after beating Mariner Youngs Club 1-0 in the final at Maulana Bhasani National Stadium in Dhaka Sunday.
Youth Olympic team captain Sohanur Rahman Sabuj stole the show with the winning goal in the second half where six foreign players featured for each side. The game was delayed for an hour due to heavy rainfall.
An organised Abahani began the game brightly and went close to scoring twice in the opening half, but on both occasions, Krishna saw his efforts go in vain. The most notable attack was scripted at the quarter-hour mark when Krishna hit the back of the board following Izwan Firdaus’ push inside the circle but the umpires denied Abahani players' appeal for the goal after consulting with each other.
Former Malaysian international Izwan, who was provided the No 10 jersey on his debut in the last-four clash, couldn't found the game as easy as it was against Victoria Sporting Club where he scored four goals. Mariner’s Indian defender Yograj Singh put up a solid display to keep the back-line secured in the first half.
Mahbub Harun's side gathered momentum after resumption and took the lead within five minutes into the second half from the first penalty corner of the game. Young BKSP forward Sabuj converted Izwan's push and Sarwar's stop brilliantly with a fierce hit.
Abahani earned consecutive penalty corners minutes later but Ashraful Islam squandered both the chances with the first one blocked on the goal-line while the second one went wide. Abahani saw their fourth and last penalty corner blocked afterwards.
Mariner, who reached the Club Cup final after 14 years, earned their first penalty corner moments before the final whistle. But Pushkor Khisa Mimo's push, Nayeem Uddin's stop and Mamunur Rahman Chayan's final hit was blocked by the defence. Mariner had another great opportunity moments later but Nippon made a brilliant block to deny Nayeem's effort, as well as ensure their fourth Club Cup title.
Abahani coach Mahbub said they could have scored more if they had not missed those three penalty corners while Mariner's German head coach Oliver Kurtz said luck deserted them. He also informed that the Club Cup winner never won the premier division title before and hoped his side would retain the league title this season.
The national youth Olympic team will fly for Thailand Monday where Sabuj will captain the side. Mohammad Mohsin is also a member of the side. Mohsin became the top-scorer of the tournament with six goals, scoring at least once in all the matches. Mohsin said the Club Cup experience would give him more confidence in Bangkok.
The star of the day, Sabuj said after the game, "The coach told me before the game that I would take the first penalty corner. I was determined to take full advantage and I couldn't express in words how happy I was after scoring the goal."
Like the inaugural day, former BHF general secretary Rahmatullah's wife Nadira Rahmatullah was present during the prize-giving ceremony where BCB president Nazmul Hasan was also present.