Abahani Limited, who began their campaign with an impressive 3-2 win over Pakistani champions Karachi Electric FC, will take on hosts Chittagong Abahani in the Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup today with an aim to ensure a spot in the last-four. The match on the other hand is a battle of survival for the hosts Chittagong Abahani, who suffered a 1-2 defeat to Indian champions East Bengal in their opening match and must win the game today.
East Bengal will face Karachi Electric in the first match of the day at the MA Aziz Stadium.
Chittagong Abahani coach Shafiqul Islam Manik admitted that his charges failed to play their natural game only because of their lack of preparation.
‘I told earlier that I was not satisfied with our preparation,’ Manik told reporters in Chittagong.
‘The fitness level of the players is not up to the mark. To keep our hopes alive, we have to improve a lot.’
The home side formed a formidable squad by recruiting at least 17 players from other local clubs, mostly from the Bangladesh Premier League runners-up Sheikh Russell KC.
But apart from winger Zahid Hossain, all of their mercenary players, including skipper Zahid Hasan Ameli, midfielders Hemanta Vincent Biswas, Mithun Chowdhury, defenders Atiqur Rahman Meshu, Rezaul Karim looked to be pale shadow of their own self against a powerful East Bengal.
Dhaka giants Abahani heaved a sigh of relief as in-form left-back Wali Faisal, who suffered an injury during the first match, was declared fit for today’s game.
Wali opened his team’s scoring with a brilliant free-kick against Karachi Electric on Tuesday.
‘His injury is not so serious. I think he will be able to play in the important match tomorrow [today],’ said coach Amalesh Sen.
‘Though we were the better team against Karachi, I think we lost a little bit of control in the last 15 minutes of the game.
‘Players have to keep the tempo till the last whistle otherwise it will be tough for us to win the game against the local side [Chittagong Abahani].’
-With New Age input