Sunday, April 14, 2024

Abahani shatter Arambagh dream

Abahani Limited broke their four-year long trophy drought when they beat Arambagh Krira Sangha 1-0 in the Federation Cup final at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Monday.
English playmaker Lee Andrew Tuck’s 11th minute strike proved decisive as the traditional Sky-Blue outfits lifted their ninth Federation Cup title while tournament’s giant killers Arambagh had to remain satisfied with another runners-up trophy.
Abahani’s last silverware came in 2012 when they won the Premier League title.
Arambagh reached the final for the third time after 1997 and 2001 but left the field empty handed on all three occasions.
Abahani’s Austrian Kottan was ecstatic after guiding the side for the second title during his tenure as coach of the Dhanmondi-based outfits.
‘It’s a wonderful feeling,’ said Kottan.
‘It is the second time in my life players throw me high at the Bangabandhu National Stadium. I am very happy for the guys. After 10 years I think I become the champions.
‘Most important thing is we controlled the game. We got 2-3 chances and we should have won by 3-1.’
Kottan brought two changes in his starting line-up for the final from the squad beat Sheikh Russell Krira Chakra in the semi-final.
Lee Tuck, who missed the semi-final through injury, retained his place for Shahedul Alam while forward Nabib Newaz Jiban returned to the starting XI replacing Senegalese forward Camara Sarba.
The players struggled to display their natural performance under the blazing heat of the afternoon as the match kicked-off at 3:30pm local time.
However, Abahani were the better of the two sides from the beginning and got an early lead.
Their first real chance came just seven minutes into the clock when Nigerian marksman Sunday Chizoba saw his initial effort was brilliantly blocked by Arambagh keeper Mitul Hasan.
Mitul made another superb save to deny Jewer Rana’s headed on the rebound moments later.
Lee put Abahani ahead just four minutes later as his left-footed drive from the edge of the box following a neat through from Jiban found the back of the net.
After the resumption, Arambagh tried their best to come back in the game as they did twice in the quarter-final and semi-final against Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club and Team BJMC.
But this time they failed to repeat those feats due to lack of quality finishing.
Arambagh winger Jafar Iqbal broke into the left of the penalty area in the 51st minute and took a powerful shot but his effort was punched away by Abahani keeper Shahidul Alam Sohel.
Cameroonian midfielder Yoko Samnick wasted a great chance to make the things level in the 56th minute when he made a fine build-up with Nigerian Kester Akon but saw his shot was blocked by Abahani defender Waly Faisal.

-With New Age input

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