MSC win battle of giants

A last-gasp winner by Mohammad Ibrahim helped Mohammedan Sporting Club secure a crucial 1-0 win over arch-rivals Abahani Limited in their Bangladesh Premier League match on Wednesday. Ibrahim scored his third league goal to give the Black and Whites a prestigious win in the clash of two Dhaka giants as the attacking midfielder became the hero with his neat finishing just minute before the stipulated time.
The result means, Mohammedan closed the gap with table toppers Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club by three points to complete their first leg with 20 points.
While in the day’s second match, Sheikh Russell Krira Chakra drew 1-1 with Rahmatganj MFS that helped Mohammedan to secure the second position of the league with a better goal difference.
Russell squandered a great opportunity to close the gap to one point with leaders Jamal, who are leading the table with 23 points.
Meanwhile, Abahani descended a place down to fifth with 17 points.
Neither Abahani nor Mohammedan could raise their level to a high that could fulfill the appetite of the spectators who anticipated a thrilling match.
The Sky Blues, who handed a 2-0 defeat to the league leaders in the previous game, compelled to break their winning combination with midfielder Emon Babu came to the starting XI in place of injured right back Nasirul Islam Nasir while Mohammedan kept the squad unchanged from previous match.
The forced change did not help Abahani’s cause and their lacking in attack and finishing became even more visible.
Wahed, who scored a brace to edge past Jamal in the last match, failed to score against his previous club.
Mohammedan’s attacking football was absent as well as they lost the ball repeatedly in the front zone and the game was seemingly heading for a goalless draw.
Mohammedan initiated the first real attack in the 12th minute when Towhidul Alam Sabuz failed to connect with a corner of Ibrahim.
Mohammedan keeper Ashraful Haq Rana celebrated his maiden call in the national team with two immediate saves minutes later.
Rana produced a stunning save to deny Ghanaian forward Osei Morrison’s effort following a Shakil free-kick before he punched away Wahed’s shot on rebound for a corner.
Abahani’s veteran keeper Ziaur Rahman Zia also rescued his side with a brilliant save in the 42nd minute to deny Guinean striker Ismail Bangoura’s header following a cross of Arup Baidya.
Abahani could have take the lead two minutes into the into the second half when Pranatash provided a long ball from halfway and Wahed passed it to Morrison with one touch and the Ghanaian forward unleashed a powerful strike just outside the box that hit the woodwork.
Mohammedan got a clear chance in the 55th minute but Nigerian Samad Yussif made a goal-line clearance to rescue Abahani from conceding the opener.
Ibrahim’s shot on empty net was blocked by Yussif before Jewel Rana’s initial effort was saved by onrushing keeper Zia.
Mohammedan saw their strong penalty appeal in the 81st minute turned down by referee Jashimuddin when Samad’s head on a Manik free kick appeared to have touched Mamun Mia’s left hand inside the danger zone.
Ibrahim, who provided the moment of magic for Mohammedan in the last minute before the final whistle when the midfielder slotted the ball into the far corner past Zia after Abahani’s Nigerian defender Ubom Henry failed to clear a free-kick of Mohammedan keeper Rana taken from own half-half.
In the other match, national forward Zahid Hasan Ameli proved guilty for Russell in the 33rd minute when his spot kick was blocked by Rahmatganj keeper Al Amin..
Ameli however, rectified his previous mistake by converting his second spot kick in the third minute of eight-minute injury time after Saeedur Rahman fouled Emile inside the box.
But, Mannaf Rubby, the super sub of Rahmatganj rescued his team for the fourth time in the league by striking the equaliser just three minutes later.
Mohammedan SC 1 (Ibrahim 90) v Abahani Limited 0
Sheikh Russell KC 1 (Ameli 90+) v Rahmatganj MFS 1 (Mannaf Rubby 90+)

-With New Age input

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