Six-time champions Abahani maintained their all-win record against Arambagh in the professional football league as the Sky Blues came from behind to hand the giant-killers a 2-1 defeat in their Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) match at the Rafique Uddin Bhuiyan Stadium in Mymensingh yesterday.
There were hopes that Arambagh, who were defeated by Abahani in all 16 previous meetings, would cause an upset following spirited performances which led to wins against Mohammedan, Saif SC and Chittagong Abahani but the Dhanmondi-based outfit had other ideas.
Holders Abahani also boast undefeated records against teams like Uttar Baridhara Club, Beanibazar SC, Sukhtara Jubo Sangho -- who were all relegated from the BPL -- and newcomers NoFel SC. In addition, the Sky Blues have remained unbeaten against Chittagong Mohammedan and Feni Soccer Club in the professional league.
Striker Nabib Newaj Jibon played a key role in maintaining the unique record.
Smarting from a 2-0 away defeat at the hands of Sheikh Jamal, Arambagh could not make good on their giant-killers tag despite taking the lead. With this win, Abahani extended their winning streak to four from six matches.
Promising winger Arifur Rahman got hosts Arambagh ahead in the 14th minute, running down the left before beating goalkeeper Shahidul Alam Sohel with a powerful shot from inside the box.
However, Maruful Haque's charges held on for just 18 minutes before Jibon equalised after a superb move. Having collected a through-pass from defensive midfielder Atiqur Rahman Fahad, Jibon rounded off his marker to scoop the ball into the top-corner from the edge of the box.
It was Jibon who gave Abahani the decisive lead six minutes later, sending a free-kick home from the top left corner of the box, thereby taking his goals tally to five, equalling the league's top-scorer Ballo Famoussa of Muktijoddha Sangsad.
The win put Abahani on top of the table again with 15 points from six matches, three ahead of newcomers Bashundhara Kings, who, however, played only four matches while Arambagh stayed on nine points from six matches.
At the Bangabandhu National Stadium, last season's runners-up Sheikh Jamal managed a 1-0 win over Brothers Union, courtesy of a second-minute strike from Shakhawat Hossain Rony.
“It is really a happy moment for me because I scored the lone goal and the team won,” said Rony. “I believe my first goal in the league will boost my confidence for the next matches even though I scored only one goal during the Federation Cup.”
Sheikh Jamal coach Joseph Afusi admitted his charges were lucky to secure full points as Brothers dominated. With three straight wins, Sheikh Jamal raised tally to 10 points from six matches while Brothers, with three straight defeats, stayed on three points from five matches.