Western Union Senior Division Football League |
The first big match of the Western Union Premier Divi-sion Football League failed to live up to the hype when National League and Federation Cup champions Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Chakra and a big-spending Brothers Union Club shared points in a goalless draw yesterday.
While the clash of the title-contenders drew blank the response from the crowd at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur was just as disappointing. Roughly three thousand football fans turned up at the 50,000 capacity arena.
In terms of gains Muktijoddha might have won their first point after their shock 0-1 defeat against Victoria in the opening match and Brothers stayed two points behind leaders Abahani who have maximum six, but the result gave observers little indication where both teams stood strength-wise.
It was obvious from the moment both teams took to the field that the rival coaches wanted to keep their cards close to their chest at the nascent stage of the League.
Muktijoddha's mindset appea-red bent on defence as their master tactician Shafiqul Islam Manik built a six-man wall to keep the prosperous Brothers attacking line-up at bay.
But after their 5-0 demolition of Arambagh a re-designed Brothers were predictably cautious going all-out.
The 'play safe' attitude and hit on the break confined the battle into a mid-pitch affair that did not produce much action at both ends during the entire 90 minutes.
Despite a mundane 45 minutes both Muktijoddha and Brothers came very close to breaking the evening's duck.
It was in the 29th minute when Muktijoddha's right wing-back Hasan Al-Mamun whipped in a bending cross that striker Rokonuzzaman Kanchan headed from the near post. But the ball sailed over with Brothers custodian Biplob at his mercy.
Just before the breather Brothers' first attempt looked more like to pay off when their Ugandan forward Okelo's header off a Monwar cross beat Muktijoddha keeper Aminul, but only to be cleared off the line by defender Papel Pahmud.
The orange men from Gopibagh stepped on the gas after the break, but all their efforts were bellowed like an accordion by the Muktijo-ddha defense.
Veteran striker Alfaz Ahmed, who is known as a big match player, could have stolen the headlines had he availed those chances that came his way in the 78th and 81st minute.
Referee R Alam also must have heaved a sigh of relief, as the match was incident-free. He had to only caution Parvez Babu of Brothers and Muktijoddha's Saiful Islam.
Brothers Union: Biplab, Rajani (Abul 48 min), Nazrul, Sujon, Parvez Babu, Iqbal, Liton, Okelo, Gomez, Monwar and Alfaz.
Muktijoddha Sangsad: Aminul, Hasan Al-Mamun, Prodeep, Ghansha, Harry, Papel, Bidyut, Saiful (Gerald 40 min/ Matiur Munna 66 min), Lajuk, Moni and Kanchan.
Referee: R Alam.
Meanwhile, the only First Division match at the same venue between Wari Club and Sadharan Bima also produced no goals.
Elsewhere, Young Men's Club Fakirerpool posted a 2-1 win over Farashganj Sporting Club at the Bir Shrestha Shaheed Mustafa Kamal Stadium in Kamalapur.
Robin and Shakil scored once each for the winners in the 14th and 36th minute while Sujon reduced the margin for Farashganj in the 25th minute.
In the other match, BRTC registered a solitary goal win over Agrani Bank.
After a barren first half, Abu Morshed scored the only goal for the state-run transport team a minute before the final whistle.