AFC CUP 2019

Abahani hold Minarva for draw

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:00, Apr 18,2019

 
 

Abahani Limited forward Nabib Newaz Jibon (C) celebrates with team-mates after scoring his team’s opening goal against Minarva Punjab of India during their AFC Cup 2019 match at the BNS on Wednesday. — New Age photo

Bangladesh Premier League champions Abahani Limited came from behind twice to snatch a 2-2 draw against last season’s I-League champions Minarva Punjab in their AFC Cup Group E (South) match at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Wednesday.
For Abahani, local forward Nabib Newaz Jibon and their Nigerian striker Sunday Chizoba scored one goal apiece while Mahmoud Al Amnah and super-sub Sreyas Gopalan hit the net for the Indian outfit.
Mahmoud gave Minarva the lead in the 16th minute when his right footed shot from the centre of the box found the back of the net after a pass from forward Makan Winkle Chote.
The home side could be on level terms in the 18th minute but Afghan forward Masih Saighani’s header flew inches wide off the crosspiece.
But Abahani didn’t have to wait much for the equaliser as Jibon’s left-footed drive from inside the box entered into net two minutes later.
Minarva were ahead in the match for the second time when their substitute forward Sreyas Gopalan’s, who replaced midfielder Harminder Singh in the 40th minute, right-footed drive from outside the box found the bottom right corner of the net.
Going behind for the second time, Abahani pressed hard for the equaliser that bore fruit in the 48th minute when Sunday’s left-footed shot from very close range found the net after a set piece.
Defender Waly Faisal’s free-kick from the right came back off the bar and Sunday was there to poke the ball home from the rebounder.
Abahani had the chance to win the match in the stoppage time but Kervens Belfort’s header from the centre of the box went over the crosspiece.
With the stalemate, Abahani are leading the four-team group with four points from two matches while Minarva have earned two points from their two successive draws.
Earlier, Abahani began their campaign with a 1-0 win against Nepal’s Manag Marsyangdi Club at the tANFA Complex in Kathmandu.
Minarva played a goalless draw in their opening match against their fellow Indian opponent Chennaiyin FC at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubeneswar.
In their next matches, Abahani will face Chennaiyin on April 30 while Minerva will host Nepal’s Manang Marshyangdi Club on May 1.

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