Holders Abahani tasted their second defeat in the Bangladesh Premier League when they lost 2-0 against title contenders Sheikh Russel KC at the Sylhet District Stadium last night.
Nigerian marksman Raphael Odoyin opened the account in the 24th minute before Brazilian Alex Rafael Antonio wrapped up the victory in the 85th minute after availing a defensive fumble to shoot Sheikh Russel to second position with 17 points from seven matches. This was Abahani's second defeat of the campaign following five consecutive wins. They had lost against Bashundhara Kings in Nilphamari in their second match. Despite the defeat, Abahani are still on top with 18 points from eight matches while Bashundhara Kings have 16 points from six matches.
STRUGGLING MSC SECURE SECOND DRAW
Meanwhile, a struggling Mohammedan Sporting Club secured their second successive draw in the Bangladesh Premier League as they held Sheikh Jamal DC 1-1 at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
Sheikh Jamal defender Monir Hossain scored an own goal to give Mohammedan the lead in the 24th minute before Gambian forward Solomon King levelled the margin in the 62nd minute with a dipping shot. The draw helped Sheikh Jamal raise their tally to 12 points from eight matches while Mohammedan leapfrogged to ninth position of the 13-team table with five points from seven outings.
Sheikh Jamal, who only conceded one defeat against Mohammedan in the history of professional league, got off to a fine start by creating two scoring chances within the first 10 minutes. But Kyrgyz forward David Tetteh's feeble header in the third minute went straight to the hands of Mohammedan goalkeeper Sarwar Jahan while Shakhawat Hossain Rony's glancing header in the seventh minute went wide after kissing the far post.
Mohammedan looked a bit better compared to their previous matches as they chased the ball from the outset before Habibur Rahman Shohag tried from distance in the 19th minute, with Sheikh Jamal goalkeeper Mohammad Nayeem parrying it away for a corner.
The Motijheel-based outfit took the lead against the run of play when Monir headed the ball into his own net while attempting to clear a long ball from Mohammedan midfielder Anik Ghosh.
Sheikh Jamal came close to equalising in the 37th minute but Gambian striker Sainey Bojang incredibly drove wide of open net despite beating goalkeeper Sarwar.
After resumption, both sides fought equally and created a few chances but Sheikh Jamal succeeded in the 62nd minute when Solomon mustered a dipping shot from 25 yards to find the back of the net.
In the latter part, Mohammedan put some pressure on Sheikh Jamal and created two penalty situations, but those were not deemed bookable offence by referee Bhuban Mohan Tarafder. Mohammedan manager Amirul Islam Babu signalled his players to come off the pitch while senior players like Zahid Hasan Emily and Mithun Chowdhury threw water bottles inside the pitch from the dugout.
However, the match ended in a peaceful manner as both sides seemed satisfied with a point apiece.
“Like the previous match, our strategy was to defend first to make sure we get at least one point and then go for counter-attack and the boys were successful,” Mohammedan's assistant coach Shahidul Islam Jewel said. “We are not getting proper service from our foreign players. The local players are also not giving their full supports to the foreign players.”