Abahani regain title with a game in hand

Staff Correspondent | Published: 23:57, Dec 26,2016

 
 

Abahani Limited players celebrate after winning the Bangladesh Premier League title for the fifth time at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Monday. — New Age photo

Abahani Limited regained the Bangladesh Premier League title with a match in hand when they thrashed relegation threatened Uttar Baridhara 4-0 at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Monday.
This was also the Dhanmondi-based outfit’s fifth league title in professional league era and the first one since 2011-12.
English midfielder Jonathan David, substitute striker Nabib Newaj Jibon, midfielder Emon Mahmud and substitute winger Faisal Mahmud stuck one goal apiece for Abahani, who are still unbeaten in the current campaign.
With their 14th win from 21 matches, Abahani took their tally to unassailable 49 points, five more than second-placed Chittagong Abahani, who played out 1-1 draw with Muktijoddha Sangsad in the previous match leaving their Dhaka namesakes only three points away from securing the title.

Independence Cup winners Chittagong Abahani have settled with runners-up title as they now have 44 points from 21 matches, 12 points ahead of third-placed Sheikh Jamal DC, the dethroned champions.
Chittagong Abahani could have prolonged Abahani’s wait for the title until the final round if they could win against Muktijoddha Sangsad.
Despite the absence of two key players – injured Sunday Chizoba and Lee Tuck — Abahani never looked shortage of urgency against a team whom they handed a 5-1 defeat in the first-leg.
Abahani got off to a sparkling start and came close to taking a lead in 10th minute when Tapu Barman headed a Wali Faisal free-kick only to be cleared by defender Ariful Islam from goalline.
But they did not waste much time to take a deserved lead, which came eight minutes later.
Hemanta Vincent Biswas put a nice defence splitting through-pass to Jonathan, who darted into the box to beat goalkeeper Mohammad Razib with an angular shot.
After the resumption, Jibon, who struck a brace in a controversial circumstance against Jamal in the previous match, doubled the lead for Abahani with a glancing header off a Jewel Rana cross.
Emon Mahmud made it 3-0 converting a penalty kick after Jibon was brought down by Uttar Baridhara defender Ariful inside the box.
Substitute Faisal wrapped up the victory with another header off a Wali Faisal free-kick three minutes from time to throw the Sky Blue boys into rapture.
Abahahi’s Austrian coach George Kottan was ecstatic after the game.
‘It came through many hard works,’ said Kottan. ‘It was a long way. We didn’t lose any match. I think we have seven draws and the rest are wins. It is a good team as I always said. After hard work, this is the success.’
Sunday Chizoba, who finished the as the top scorer of the league with 19 goals despite missing the crucial last two matches, said that that this year’s triumph meant something different to him.
‘Though I missed the last two crucial matches for injury I am really very happy to see Abahani becoming champions,’ he said.
‘It is also a memorable league for me because I am the top-scorer of the league [19 goals]’, said Sunday, who tasted his first professional football league title in five seasons.

RESULTs
Muktijoddha Sangsad 1 (Javed 49) v Chittagong Abahani 1 (Mamun 31)
***
Abahani Limited 4 (David 18, Zibon 58, Emon 83-P, Faisal 87) v Uttar Baridhara 0

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