Defending champions Abahani notched up their second straight win to go joint top of the Grameenphone Bangladesh Premier League along with Muktijoddha Sangsad when they handed a 2-1 defeat on Arambagh Krira Sangha at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday. A 19th minute own goal from Arambagh defender Moniruzzaman Mamun gave Abahani the lead before Cameroonian forward Yoko Samnick made it 2-0 in the 24th minute with an acrobatic side volley. Idris Kasirye, the Ghanaian veteran of Arambagh, reduced the margin from the spot in the 29th minute to make the rest of the encounter an interesting one.
Abahani, who won their opening game 3-0 against Feni Soccer Club, played with Samnick and Brazilian Generoso da Silva at the front instead of regular striker Twum Frank and dominated the early exchanges. The team in yellow sky jerseys were off the blocks early and applied heavy pressure on Arambagh who were back defending the early onslaught. And that pressure paid off.
Arambagh goalkeeper Mitul Hasan missed the flight of a cross from Waly Faisal and defender Mamun, who while trying to clear the ball, put it back into his own net. The goal somewhat created more panic in the Arambagh ranks and they were down 2-0 five minutes later. This time though there was no luck about the goal as Samnick brilliantly side-volleyed a cross from Awudu Ibrahim from outside the box.
However, Arambagh were given a lifeline by Abahani's young goalkeeper Shahidul Alam Sohel, just two minutes later, when he blatantly kicked Arambagh forward Osondo Maurice outside the box. The Nigerian forward had gone clear on a long ball as Arambagh counter attacked when Sohel came off the blocks and took the forward down. Sohel got away with only a yellow card and a penalty. Kasirye stepped up and put the ball past the keeper with a neat spot kick.
The second half was a more even affair as Arambagh stepped up the attack. However, Abahani were gifted a penalty in the 54th minute when Arambagh defender Morsalin Parvez brought down Tawhidul Alam inside the box. Da Silva's feeble effort was easily saved by the Arambagh keeper.
Abahani might have extended the margin anyway if Samnick's back volley had gone in instead of coming off the woodwork in the 79th minute. Arambagh were down to ten men in the 88th minute when Uzumefon Zoel was sent off for a second bookable offence. But the scoreline remained the same and Abahani trudged off with another win, albeit an unconvincing one.
It was Arambagh's two defeats in as many games.