National Football League
BU storm into Super Six
After two demoralising draws in the previous rounds, Brothers Union returned to their belligerent best at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Tuesday when they thrashed Bangladesh Army 4-0 in their final group league match of the Nitol-Tata Fifth National Football League.
Nigerian striker Paul struck twice in either half while his compatriot Felix and midfielder Rezaul Karim Liton added one each as the holders stormed into the Super-Six from a relatively easy Group A.
Having started the title defence with a 2-0 win against Khulna Town Club, the men in orange stumbled to goalless draws against little known Munshiganj Samabesh Club and Jamalpur Kacharipara in their last two games. But Tuesday's easy success against Army, who holds the reputation as a tough nut to crack, gave Brothers a big boost ahead of the six-team final round. Three Dhaka giants Mohammedan, Abahani and Muktijoddha are set to join them from the other group.
Brothers finished with eight points from four games, leaving the other two slots from the group wide open.
Army's first defeat after a win and two draws meant that they would have to beat Samabesh Club of Munshiganj in their last match on Thursday to reach the Super Six.
With two matches in hand, Samabesh also stand a bright chance to progress into the next phase. They are now sharing the second spot with Army and Kacharipara, all having four points each.
Back in the day's match, Brothers were too hot to handle for the armymen.
Felix drew the first blood in the 28th minute when he spooned the ball into the net over an advancing Army goalkeeper Monirul from the edge of the box.
Army conceded the second goal a minute before break following a defensive error by Mizan, whose attempted clearance off a powerful Felix shot deflected to an unmarked Paul who completed the simple task of stabbing the ball home.
Midfielder Liton extended the lead two minutes after the restart with a scorching grounder after being nicely fed by Felix inside the box.
Paul then sealed the biggest win for Brothers at the stroke of the final whistle when the muscular Nigerian dribbled past Army defender Didarul before rounding off custodian Monirul.
Group B leaders Abahani take on Rangamati Mohammedan Sporting Club at the same venue today.
BROTHERS UNION: Mohammad Ali, Pranotosh, Masud Rana, Siraji (Al Mujahid), Arup Kumar, Inani, Felix (Tapu), Liton (Rikta), Shuvro, Jislan and Paul.
BANGLADESH ARMY: Monirul, Tutul, Rashedul Hasan, Mizanur Rahman, Didarul Haque, Abu Nayeem (Shahidul/Monwar), Atiqul, Silan Khan, Shaheen (Mamun Reza), Raqibul and Anwar.
Referee: Mansoor Azad.