The sixth edition of the professional football league, the Grameenphone Bangladesh Premier League, got off to a raucous start as holders Abahani handed a 3-0 defeat to Feni Soccer Club at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
Two goals from winger Towhidul Alam, after the opener from Ghanaian striker Twum Frank, all in the space of six minutes, gave Abahani a convincing victory in the match which was inaugurated by BFF president Kazi Salahuddin.
However, it took the Sky Blues 41 minutes to break the five-man defence of Feni Soccer marshalled by Markson Gray, Mosfiq Uddin Shimul, Abu Sufian, Mowdud Ahmed and Allauddin. Once the deadlock was broken, the floodgates opened and two goals followed in quick succession. The margin could have been bigger had it not been some brilliant saves from Feni's substitute keeper.
The win kept Abahani's unbeaten record against Feni intact and took their win tally against the club in the professional league to six in seven matches.
“The first match is always important and difficult and the result of today's match is good but I am not satisfied with the performance of the boys,” said Abahani's new Iranian Ardeshir Pournimat Vodehi, adding that they need more time to become the team he wants. The coach also admitted that there were some problems in defence line and finishing.
From the outset, Abahani pressed hard for the lead and but it took them 41 minutes to break the deadlock when Frank headed home an Ibrahim cross from close range. The lead was doubled four minutes later. Attacking midfielder Ibrahim, who has been playing for the Sky Blues for seven successive seasons, again turned the provider as his cross was headed by Towhid past Feni's hapless Masud Ahmed Uzzal.
Towhid scored his second to make it 3-0 two minutes later with a spectacular volley. The initial ball was played by Abdul Baten Komol and Towhid, who was recently dropped from the national U-23 squad, raced to the danger zone before volleying at the far post over advancing goalkeeper Uzzal.
“After being dropped from the national squad, I was determined to show good performances and I hope I can carry it to the end of the league,” said Towhid, who was replaced by Enamul Haque in the 81stst minute.
The second half was a one-sided as Abahani yielded numerous scoring opportunities but failed to capitalise on any of them, thanks to some brilliant saves from substitute goalkeeper Al Amin and failure of Abahani strikers.
Feni Soccer created two good chances to reduce the margin but Nigerian recruit Victory Antoni squandered both chances, even after beating Abahani goalkeeper Shahidul Alam Shohel.
Feni Soccer coach Mahmudul Haque Liton admitted that his side failed to give in a good account of themselves while Abahani's foreign players made the difference.
He however claimed that referee Mizanur Rahman was wrong not to award them a penalty and also should have booked Towhid a second time.