Sunday, April 14, 2024

Muktijoddha-Abahani match ends in stalemate

Hosts Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Chakra held defending champions Abahani Limited to a goalless draw in the Bangladesh Premier League at the Gopalganj stadium on Sunday as the reigning champions finished their first-leg affair in third place in the league table.
Last season’s runners-up Muktijoddha could not form the best side of the competition, losing 16 of their performers in the pre-season transfer window but they had the advantage of a packed home venue that helped them fight neck and neck with their mighty opponents.
Credit also should go to their hard-working goalkeeper Ziaur Rahman, who saved his side from conceding a goal on several occasions.
Zia dived and gripped the ball from just the goal-line in the 34th minute when a long-range effort by Abahani’s Ghanaian striker Ntiny Tuawnu Frank was about to roll into their net deflecting off defender Russell Mahmud Liton.
Zia once again proved to be at the peak of his form as he rushed forward to close the gap and block a close-range header from Abahani’s prolific striker Shakhawat Hossain Rony in the 38th minute.
Struggling to deal with their dominant opponents, Muktijoddha had no other choice but to rely on the counter-attacks and set-pieces in search of a much-desired goal and the strategy was about to pay off as their Brazilian midfielder Thyago Silva hit the Abahani crosspiece from a free-kick that earned a huge applause from nearly 10,000 fans present at the stadium.
Muktijoddha coach Shafiqul Islam Manik, however, did not forget to thank the local crowd who he believes helped them stay unbeaten at home and get some big victories against Dhaka giants Mohammedan Sporting Club and Arambagh Krira Sangha.
‘I thank the people of Gopalganj who supported us sincerely during our home matches of the first leg and inspired us to perform here consistently,’ said Manik.
Abahani coach Ardeshir Pour Nemat also stated that the shouting crowds were a pressure on them and encouraged their opponents to put their heart and soul into the game.
‘The stands are too close to the playing area and thus the impact of the vociferous crowd was more on us. The way they shouted the home team players’ names also helped them,’ said Ardeshir.
With the draw, Abahani are now in third place with 17 points from eight matches, two behind leaders Sheikh Russell Krira Chakra, while Muktijoddha remained at the fourth position with 14 points from eight matches.

-With New Age input

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