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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Friday, June 27, 2008
Sports

AFC President's Cup 2008

Solace for Abahani

Abahani ended their AFC President's Cup campaign with a consolation 1-0 win over Pakistan WAPDA in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Striker Zahid Hassan Emily separated the two sides six minutes from time in the Group A match at the MPPJ Stadium although Abahani should have won by a bigger margin.

The win meant nothing for the Bangladesh professional league champions, who had crashed out of contention for a place in the semifinals following 4-0 and 2-1 defeats to Nepal Police Club and Regar TadAZ respectively, but the result ensured Nepal Police enter the last four as the best runners-up team of three groups.

Police Cub, who led their match against Regar 2-1 later yesterday at the same venue until 90 minutes, shared a 2-2 draw after conceding an injury time equaliser. But it was enough for them to edge Group C runners-up Kanbawza to join the three group winners -- defending two-time champions Dordoi-Dynamo of Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan champions Ashgabad and Regar -- for the September 19-21 semifinals and the final in Kyrgyzstan.

Regar finished atop Group A with seven points while Nepal Police bagged five.

Myanmar's Kanbawza earned six points but as the result against the last teams of all groups are not to be accounted, the men from the Himalayans, with four points against the first and third teams, nipped Kanbawza whose collection stood three points.

Abahani returned to 4-4-2 and fielded centre-back Sony and holding midfielder Pranotosh for the first time in the tournament for suspended Ghanaian defender Samad Yussif and central defender Pradeep Poddar.

The sky-blues rushed early blood but midfielder Mamunul Islam fired the ball straight to WAPDA goalie Abdul Aziz on a one-on-one in the second minute.

Emily hit woodwork from a freekick while Ibrahim fluffed a sitter as the first half ended goalless.

The Dhaka outfit kept the pressure after the break but had to wait till the final minutes to get the match winner.

"We dominated the whole match but missed a series of chances," manager Satayajit Das Rupu told The Daily Star over phone from the Malaysian capital last night.

"Its unfortunate that we failed to get the deserved result but the way we played against Regar in our previous match, we should have won at least 4-2.

"The first match was crucial and our players did not have a good game. They were tired due to the long delay of our Bangladesh Biman flight from home. They missed sleep for successive nights and their bodies did not look like following their minds.

"Still I feel the booters were a bit relaxed and over-confident against Nepal. They made some silly mistakes to let us down heavily," rued Rupu.

"We have improved match by match and the last two matches, especially the tremendous second half against Tajikistan side was the proof of it. We are now tuned up well for the domestic season."

Abahani will return home tomorrow morning.

TEAM
Biplab, Obaidur, Nazrul, Sony, Waly, Joy, Pranotosh, Abul (Zahed Parvez), Mamun, Emily and Ibrahim.

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