Nigerian forward Sunday Chizoba scored a brace as Abahani Limited beat North Korean outfit April 25 Sports Club 4-3 in the first-leg of their Inter-Zone Semi-Final of the AFC Cup at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Wednesday.
Midfielder Sohel Rana and forward Nabib Newaz Jiban scored the other two goals for the six-time Bangladesh Premier League champions in an exciting encounter.
For April 25, midfielder Choe Jong-Hyok, captain Rim Chol-Min and defender Pak Song-Rok scored three vital away goals.
Abahani now need only a draw in the second-leg of the tie, to be held on August 28 at the Kim-ll-Sung Stadium in Pyongyang, to progress into the Inter-Zone final of the competition.
But that won’t be easy for Abahani as April 25 have not lost at home for the past two years.
Abahani played some fearless football from the beginning that bore fruit in the 33rd minute as Sohel Rana gave his team the lead with a left-footed drive from outside the box utilising a back-pass from Jiban.
April 25 played with short-passes and quick-counter attacks and levelled the margin in the 35th minute when Choe Jong-Hyok’s right-footed drive from outside the box following a pass from midfielder O Hyok Chol entered the net.
Abahani were ahead again two minutes later when Jiban’s right footed shot from the centre of the box flew into the net.
April 25 restored parity for the second time as Rim Chol-Min’s left-footed shot from the centre of the box entered the net following a cross from midfielder Son Phyong-Il in the 54th minute.
Sunday made it 3-2 for the Sky Blues three minutes later when his right-footed drive from inside the box after a through pass by defender Tutul Hossain Badsha found the net.
The Nigerian was again on the score sheet when he deceived two opponents before taking a successful right-footed shot from the centre of the box in the 61st minute.
The visiting side reduced the gap in the 77th minute when Pak Song-Rok headed the ball home to score his team’s third.
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