Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club won the Bangladesh League title in their debut season after they eked out a 2-2 draw in their final game against Brothers Union at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Wednesday.
Jamal needed only one point to lift them out of reach of their nearest rivals Muktijoddha Sangsad KC and two goals from Mohammad Sujan and Sergio Chico in the space of three minutes in the second half just ensured that.
Brothers took a surprise lead in the 11th minute through Kingsley Chigozie before Sujan equalised from a penalty 17 minutes into the second half.
Chico ended all excitement two minutes later by scoring the second goal for Jamal, who came to the ground with their names for an alleged fixed game against Rahmatganj still not cleared.
Brothers Union’s Brazilian forward Everton, who was outstanding throughout the game, restored parity in the 70th minute from a penalty, but that was not enough for them to deny Jamal their championship.
With the draw, Jamal have now earned 51 points, four clear of Muktijoddha, who will face Rahmatganj in their last game. The outcome of Muktijoddha-Rahmatganj match will have no impact on the league table unless the allegation of a fixed match against Jamal is proved.
The league committee of the Bangladesh Football Federation will sit at a meeting today and is expected to give their verdict on the match-fixing allegation.
If it is found that Jamal had indeed played a fixed game against Rahmatganj, the league committee has every right to dock their points, in which case the title will go to Muktijoddha.
Jamal, however, felt a cold shiver when Nigerian striker Kinsley hit the back of the net from just inside the penalty area before they could organised their play, following a superb one-two with Everton.
Jamal came close to an equaliser in the second half but could not break down the Brothers defence. Cameroonian Femi Orunnimi tucked a Sergio Chico cross towards an open net from inside the six-yard box on 22 minutes but Yousuf Ali Khan rescued the oranges making a goal-line clearance.
Jamal started the second half with a more aggressive 4-3-3 formation changing their earlier 4-4-2 in their quest for an equaliser and the success came within 17 minutes.
A Brothers Union defender handled a free-kick taken by Jamal’s substitute forward Zahid Hasan Ameli to present the Dhanmondi-based club with a spot-kick opportunity. Sujan did not waste the chance which brought a sense of relief in the Jamal dug-out.
It all turned into a joy when Chico put Sheikh Jamal ahead just two minutes later, heading home Femi’s left-flank cross.
However, the scoreline once again became level after Jamal defender Wali Faisal tackled Everton down from behind inside the danger zone that resulted in a spot-kick in favuor of Brothers. Everton himself took the penalty to beat Aminul.
But that was only just as Jamal held their fort
intact in the remaining minutes of the game and returned to the dressing room with only point they needed, triggering a wild celebration in one corner of the gallery which housed their handful supporters.
-With New Age input