Title contenders Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club and Mohammedan SC got off to winning starts in the Grameenphone Bangladesh Premier League at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
Sheikh Jamal recorded a 3-2 win over Team BJMC, thanks to a brace from Sunday Chizoba and a strike from Mike Otojareri while Mohammedan handed a 3-0 defeat to Brothers Union riding on league's first hattrick from Osei Morison.
Mohammedan, who are still searching an elusive professional football league title, found going hard against another fallen giants Brothers Union in the first half.
After the first-half, Mohammedan coach Saiful Bari Titu switched to a 3-5-2 formation from 4-4-2, bringing in midfielder Maruf Ahmed and winger Shariful Islam in place of Motiur Rahman and defender Mintu Sheikh respectively and the substitutions made significant impact on the game with Shariful and Sohel Rana penetrating from both wings.
Mohammedan took 12 minutes into the second half to take the lead through Ghanaian Osei Morison, who advanced to the box with a Maruf through-pass before placing it past the advancing goalkeeper Piaruzzaman, and he doubled the lead in the 71st minute with another placing shot after availing a cut-back from winger Shariful.
Morison, who came here for Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club but was signed up by the Black & Whites, completed his hattrick in the stoppage time from the spot after substitute striker Mohammed Robin was brought down by the Brothers goalkeeper inside the box.
The emphatic win meant Mohammed extended their winning tally against Brothers to six in 11 league matches.
In the first match of the day, former champions Sheikh Jamal struggled to replicate their Federation Cup form, even though they got the better of Team BJMC, thanks to brilliant strikes from Nigerian duo Otojareri and Sunday, who together scored 10 goals in the Federation Cup.
Despite taking a 3-0 lead, Sheikh Jamal conceded two goals due to defensive lapses and coach Joseph Afusi was forced to strengthen his backline by deploying an extra defender to keep the scoreline at 3-2.
Sheikh Jamal went ahead in the 16th minute against the run of play as Sunday, availing a short corner from Alamgir Kabir Rana, found the near post from outside the box with a fine drive, giving goalkeeper Aminul Haque no chance to react.
Having survived a scare in the 27th minute, Sheikh Jamal doubled the lead a minute later through Otojareri, who smashed a Sunday chip home after three BJMC defenders failed to clear it.
Sunday made it 3-0 from a free-kick from outside the box two minutes into the second half. When it seemed the game was over, BJMC fought back to pull one goal back in the 50th minute through a penalty kick which was taken by Ismael Bangoura, top-scorer of last league.
Then Kingsley made it 3-2 with a well-judged header off a Kesto Kumar cross but Team BJMC could not find the equaliser and eventually suffered the first defeat in three league matches against Sheikh Jamal.