The inaugural edition of the Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup got underway in port city Chittagong on Tuesday with local giants Abahani Limited edging past Pakistan’s Karachi Electric FC by 3-2 goals in the opening match. In the day’s second match of the group-B, hosts Chittagong Abahani suffered a 2-1 defeat to Indian giants East Bengal FC at the MA Aziz Stadium.
A sumptuous free-kick from left-back Wali Faisal gave Dhaka Abahani a precise lead before Nigerian forward Sunday Chizoba doubled the margin for the Sky Blue outfit.
Mohammad Rasool of Karachi Electric reduced the gap in the second-half before defender Omar Faruque awarded an own goal to Abahani.
Karachi’s Nigerian forward Abayomi Sunday pulled another goal back at the death, but that was not enough for the visitors to avoid a defeat.
Abahani’s three hired trio — Nigerian forward Kestor Akon and defenders Wali Faisal and Topu Barman added some extra-spice to the local giants play as they were magnificent throughout the game.
Karachi Electric goalkeeper Golam Nabi produced a superb save in the 20th minute when he denied Kestar Akon’s attempt from inside the box following a nice cut back from Sunday.
Abahani won a free-kick in the 23rd minute when defender Noor Mohammad brought Sunday down outside the box and Wali Faisal gave his team the lead with a viciously-hit free-kick by his luscious left-foot from 25-yard out.
Sunday doubled the margin six minutes later, when the tall Nigerian marksman beat his marker to connect a long looping ball from Imon Babu from almost halfway line past an advancing Karachi keeper.
Pakistani league champions initiated some attacks in the second-half and they reduced the gap in the 75th minute when Mohammad Rasool made a brilliant volley from outside the box that found the back of the net.
Abahani retained their two goal lead just two minutes later, when defender Omar Faruque’s clearance following a Wali free-kick went into his own net.
Karachi keeper Nabi rescued his side again with a stunning save to deny substitute midfielder Atiqur Rahman Fahad’s powerful attempt on a nice cut back of Kester Akon in the 84th minute.
Abahani conceded their second goal of the day after Topu Barman handed down a ball inside the box in the last minute that forced the referee to blow his whistle for a spot-kick in Karachi’s favour.
Karachi’s African striker Sunday made no mistake to convert from the spot.
In the other match, Mohammad Rafique and Prohlad Roy scored one goal apiece for East Bengal before their defender Bellorasaq awarded an own goal to the home side in the second-half.
The port city outfit, comprised of all recruited players, in the starting XI, failed to organise their play against a second-string East Bengal team who came here without their 14 regular players.
Most of East Bengal players are now busy playing in the Indian Super League.
Striker Mohammed Rafique put East Bengal ahead in the 32nd minute placing a rebounder from the goal mouth melee after Chittagong goalkeeper Russell Mahmud Liton initially blocked a long throw-in from right.
Prohlad doubled the lead in the 72nd minute with a nice finishing touch from left corner of the box following a neat cross from Abhinash from right.
Chittagong Abahani pulled one goal back in the 78th minute when East Bengal defender Bellorasaq headed to his own net on a nice cross of Hemanta Vincent from the right flank.
Dhaka Abahani 3 (Wali 23, Sunday 29, Omar Farooq- og 84) v Karachi Electric 2 (Rasool 75, Sunday) ; East Bengal 2 (Rafique 32, Prohlad 72) v Chittagong Abahani 1 (Bellorasaq- og 78)
-With New Age input