Super-sub Faisal Ahmed Shitol scored a brace as defending champions Abahani Limited began their Independence Cup campaign with a 2-1 win over Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Chakra in their Group C match at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Sunday.
In the other match of the day, big-spenders Bashundhara Kings beat Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club 2-0 in their Group D match at the same venue.
Shitol scored two goals in a span of two minutes in the second half for the sky blue outfit while Muktijoddha’s Japanese midfielder Yousuke Kato reduced the gap converting a penalty in the stoppage time.
Shitol, who came in as a substitute for Jewel Rana, gave Abahani the lead in the 76th minute with a placing shot from inside the box after a cross from forward Rubel Miya from the right flank.
Abahani were 2-0 up in the next minute when Shitol scored his second from a header after connecting a left-footed cross off Haitian forward Kervens Fils Belfort from the left flank.
Two minutes into the injury time, Abahani defender Tutul Hossain Badsha brought down Kato inside the box and referee Anisur Rahman did not hesitate to award a penalty to Muktijoddha.
Kato didn’t make any mistake as he converted the penalty to make it 2-1.
In the day’s second match under floodlights, Kings pressed hard from the very start of the match against Sheikh Jamal and Nasir Uddin Chowdhury gave them the lead in the 18th minute.
Nasir headed home from a goalmouth melee from a corner of Costa Rican World Cupper Daniel Colindres from the right side.
Kyrgyzstani midfielder Baktyiar Duishohekov doubled the lead for Kings in the
38th minute with a right-footed shot from the top of the box with Colindres again the provider.
Motin Mia had a chance to make it 3-0 in the stoppage time of the first half, but his 25-yard right-footed drive was punched away to safety by Jamal keeper Nayeem.
In the second half, Bashundhara and Sheikh Jamal spent their time with fruitless attacks and counter-attacks.
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