Sk Russel stutter | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 09, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, February 09, 2019

Sk Russel stutter

Title contenders Sheikh Russel suffered their first setback in the Bangladesh Premier League, being held to a 1-1 draw by hosts Saif SC at the Rafique Uddin Bhuiyan Stadium in Mymensingh yesterday.

At the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka, Chittagong Abahani began their recovery after a three-match losing streak with an exciting 3-2 win over Brothers Union.

With a first draw, Sheikh Russel are now second with 10 points from four matches, two shy of league leaders Abahani who have played a match more. The point also helped Saif, who also have 10 points and remain third by virtue of goal difference.

Meanwhile, Chittagong Abahani jumped to fifth with eight points from five matches by inflicting Brothers' second successive defeat, leaving the Gopibagh-based outfit in ninth with three points from four matches.

Fresh off a 3-0 win over Mohammedan, Sheikh Russel got a foothold early in the match against Saif, who kept the former champions at bay until the 79th minute.

Uzbek striker Azizov Alisher smoothly headed a Rafael Alex corner into the near post but Sheikh Russel's lead lasted only five minutes as Yeasin Ali Khan found his own net while attempting to clear a cross.

“We created more chances than in our last three games but our forwards squandered them. That is football. We have to accept it,” said Sheikh Russel coach Saiful Bari Titu over phone.

Elsewhere, having lost the previous match 2-0 to Arambagh, Chittagong Abahani were gifted the lead as Shafiqul Islam Shafi headed into his own net in the 12th minute. Brothers equalised in the 33rd minute as Mannaf Rabbi tapped in a Lima Leonardo header from a Khan Mohammad Tara free-kick.

However, in the face of mounting pressure, Brothers conceded twice in 11 second-half minutes. Momodu Bah made  it 2-1 in the 46th minute and Kawshik Barua tapped the other in after goalkeeper Sujan Chowdhury's fumble.

“After losing to Arambagh, I deployed Daniel Nil in a three-man backline and sent Shahed to the attacking midfield. With those two changes, we put pressure on the opponents from the flanks and the forwards utilised the opportunities they got,” said Chittagong Abahani coach Zulfikar Mahmud Mintu.

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