Arambagh, Russel go top | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 04, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 04, 2019

Arambagh, Russel go top

Giant-killers Arambagh KS chalked their third consecutive win in the Bangladesh Premier League when they handed a 2-0 defeat to former runners-up Chittagong Abahani at the Rafique Uddin Bhuiyan Stadium in Mymensingh yesterday while at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka, Saif SC notched a 2-1 win over Brothers Union.

The wins took both Arambagh and Saif SC to the top of the table with nine points from four matches, equal to defending champions Abahani and newcomers Bashundhara Kings, with the latter having played three matches so far.

Arambagh, who had earlier stunned Mohammedan and Saif SC following defeat in their first match against Sheikh Russel, punished visiting Chittagong Abahani to continue their impressive run on home ground.

Chinedu Mathew, who had scored two goals in previous two matches, played a key role in setting up both goals even though he could not get his name on the scoresheet in this match.

The charges of Maruful Haque took a deserved lead in the 61st minute when Mathew, availing a long ball from the right flank, shrugged off his marker and entered the box to deliver a fierce grounder for onrushing Arifur Rahman, who tapped in from close to send his team into wild celebration.

13 minutes later, Mathew entered into the box from the left flank availing a miss-pass from the opposition and released a well-judged cross for Paul Emile, headed in to give the first taste of defeat to Chittagong Abahani who are now on five points from four matches.

Meanwhile, Saif SC, who came into the match on the back of a 1-0 defeat against Arambagh, did not waste much time to take the lead as Colombian defender Deiner Andres Cordoba rose high to head home a Yeasin Arafat corner in the 11th minute.  

Title contenders Saif SC, however, held the lead for only 16 minutes as defender Asaduzzaman Bablu headed the ball into his own net while attempting to clear a cross from Brothers forward Leonardo Lima.

Brothers came close to taking the lead in the 50th minute but Jack Daniels Aguilar hit the ball straight to the opposition goalkeeper from a one-on-one situation before Saif saw their Korean midfielder Seungil Park denied twice by Brothers defender Sujan Chowdhury and a defender three minutes later.

However, Saif SC restored their lead on the hour-mark when Russian hitman Denis Bolshakov converted from the spot after defender Mohammad Sajal brought him down inside the danger zone. 

“Though we had better ball possession, we need to improve our control over the ball. We still need three to four games to be at our best. I believe we showed only 50 to 60 percent of our potential performance and need 70 to 80 percent performance on the pitch to get results regularly,” said Saif SC coach Johnny McKinstry.

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