Title contenders Muktijoddha Sangsad joined leaders Abahani in the Grameenphone Bangladesh Premier League with a 2-0 win over Sheikh Russel KC in their crucial tie at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
Nigerian striker Sunday Chizoba gave Muktijoddha Sangsad an eighth-minute lead before local hitman Zahid Hasan Emily struck the second one in the seventith minute to extend Muktijoddha Sangsad’s winning streak as well as reach the top of the 11-team points table with 37 points from 17 matches, though three-time champions Abahani have identical points having played a match less.
“The players were much eager to win today’s match to continue their push for the title. They played with the same attitude they showed against Brothers Union and left the field with a victory,” said Muktijoddha Sangsad coach Shafiqul Islam Manik.
According to the bylaws, if two teams finish top of the points table with equal points then the title will be decided by a play-off match between the two teams.
Last season’s runners-up Muktijoddha Sangsad have tough challenges ahead as they will have to face Team BJMC, holders Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club and Abahani, who have less challenges to face with their opponents being Sheikh Jamal, Feni Soccer, Farashganj SC and Muktijoddha.
“We are not thinking of Abahani, rather our lone focus is to win the remaining three matches to create an opportunity of a play-off match and we are determined to do it,” said coach Manik.
Mutkijoddha Sangsad went ahead in the eighth minute when striker Emily snatched the ball from Sheikh Russel midfielder Mezbabul Haq to put a through for Sunday, who had after a dazzling run mustered a left-footer from the edge of the box to beat Sheikh Russel goalkeeper Biplob Bhattacharjee.
Muktijoddha were then denied by the woodwork when defender Ariful Islam headed a Mamunul Islam free-kick to the post in the 19th minute while Emily, after missing an open net opportunity, doubled the lead and sealed the match in the seventieth minute with a sliding effort from a Sunday cut-back.
“Muktijoddha played their best match today so far and we could not stop them on the pitch,” said Sheikh Russel coach Maruful Haque.
The Bangladesh Premier League was supposed to be suspended for a two-week period as the under-22 players would be unavailable due to the U-22 Asia Cup, but yesterday it was revealed that the League would be suspended for less than a week, from June 20 to June 25.
-With The Daily Star input