Draw 0-0 with Sk Jamal
Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club emerged as Group A champions to qualify for the semifinals of the Graneenphone Super Cup along with Abahani as the two sides played out a goalless draw in their last group match at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
Bangladesh League champions Sheikh Jamal, who had already confirmed their last four berth, finished top of the group with four points from two matches while Abahani finished in second position with two points. The last match of Group B will be played today between Muktijoddha Sangsad and Sheikh Russel KC after which the Super Cup will go for a break to make room for national team’s preparation for the two-legged World Cup pre-qualifier against Lebanon.
Scoring has been the main concern for the Sky Blues in this campaign and they had to be content with yet another goalless draw despite dominating the match from the word go.
“I said this before that finishing is our main problem and you saw what happed today. The way the boys played was good except for finding the target,” said a disappointed Abahani coach Amalesh Sen.
Striker Robin was given a start in place of Shakawat Hossain Rony and the promising striker worked hard along with Awudu Ibrahim but could not overcome the Sheikh Jamal backline marshalled by man-of-the-match Mohammad Sujan, Ariful Islam, Atiqur Rahman Meshu and Nasirul Islam.
There was a lot of expectation from Abahani hitman Awudu Ibrahim, but the Ghanaian was but a shadow of his usual self and he later claimed that he was suffering from a knee injury.
The Ghanaian said Sheikh Jamal are hard opponents with a good number of national players but believed they should have won the game after the way they played.
Both sides were more involved in physical tussle from the beginning and referee Azad Rahman warned three players to calm down. Later the game got into good tempo with Abahani showing better performance compared to the game against Brothers Union.
Last year’s runners-up Abahani created couple of scoring chances in the first half but Ghanaian midfielder Twum Frank, who worked hard throughout the game, frustrated on both occasions.
Capitalising on a long-ball from a fellow defender in the 18th minute , Frank, who scored 15 goals in the league, ran fast to enter the box with Sujan trying to stop him and the tall striker struck straight at the advancing goalkeeper Aminul Haque where a chip might have given them the lead. Eight minutes later, Twum failed again as he was late to connect a well-judged right-side cross from Awudu.
However, Abahani might have even conceded the lead in the 35th minute when a misdirected header from captain Pranotosh Kumar fell to an unmarked Shakil Ahmed who drove away to the right side and wasting the effort despite getting Abahani goalkeeper Ziaur Rahman.
After resumption, Abahani kept on pressing for a lead and went close to it when Mehdi Hasan Ujjal drove a Siraji corner inches over the crosspiece in the 59th minute. Abahani brought two changes in the second half but Shohag and Rony did not make much impact on the game.
“Having confirmed a semifinal berth, the players might have felt relaxed and did not give their full effort but they were also determined not to concede any goals,” said Sheikh Jamal’s Sri Lankan coach Packeer Ali.
Sheikh Jamal: Aminul Haque, Sujan, Nasir, Shakil Ahmed (Abdul Baten Komol), Ariful Islam, Atiqur Rahman Meshu, Mamunul Islam (Sohel Rana), Emmanuel Ayuk, Yoko Samnick, Loga Bouga and Femi Orunnimi.
Abahani: Ziaur Rahman, Mohiuddin Ibnul Siraji, Prantosh Kumar, Mehdi Hasan Ujja (Habibur Rahman Shohag), Mamun Mia, Ashraf Mahmud Linkon, Mohammad Robin (Ronny), Twum Frank, Awudu Ibrahim, Samad Yussif and Yousif Aminu.
Referee: Azad Rahman
-With The Daily Star input