Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club assumed solo lead in the Grameenphone Bangladesh Premier League with an impressive 2-0 victory away to Muktijoddha Sangsad at the Sheikh Fazlul Haque Moni Stadium in Gopalganj yesterday. Two goals in two minutes of the first half gave the former champions their second win over Muktijoddha in the league and took them to 25 points from 11 outings, one clear of defending champions Aabahni.
Early pace-setters Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra had the chance to join Sheikh Jamal at the top, but a frustrating 1-0 defeat against an inspired Mohammedan Sporting Club at the Bangabandhu National Stadium saw them fall back to third position with 22 points. Sheikh Russel, however, have a game in hand over both Sheikh Jamal and Abahani.
Sheikh Jamal's new Nigerian recruit Emmanuel Ariwachukuu put the visitors ahead in the 27th minute before his compatriot Sunday Chizoba sealed the game a minute later in the match at Gopalganj. Sunday's second goal in as many matches, and his sixth in the league overall, helped his side to a second consecutive away victory. The defeat for Muktijoddha extended a poor run for the Reds, who have mustered only a single point from their last three matches and remain glued to 15 points from 11 matches.
Muktijoddha were later knocked off the fourth position by Mohammedan, who looked the better side at the BNS where a single goal from defender Topu Barman ensured all the three points for the struggling Motijheel giants. This win snapped a two-match losing streak for the Black and Whites while it ended a two-match winning run for their opponents.
Sheikh Russel, who lost 3-1 against Mohammedan in the first leg, seemed to have been unaware of the danger as they looked lethargic and complacent throughout the whole game. Sohel Rana, Mohammedan's young winger, proved a constant threat down the left flank as he provided a number of crosses for the forwards. Osei Morrison, the league's top-scorer was especially profligate as he failed to make three of the chances count. But Mohammedan's persistence paid off early in the second half when defender Topu proved his shooting skills by latching on to a back-header from Sheikh Russel defender Bojan Petric, before finding the back of the net with a fierce shot from the edge of the box.
Sheikh Russel though showed a little more urgency in the second half and brought on Mithun Chowdhury in place of injured Zahid Hasan Emily. Sheikh Russel felt they were robbed of a goal when a flick from Sony Norde off a Tarek El Janaby seemed to have crossed the line before Udeh Damien made the clearance. The aggrieved players barged on the linesman, but to no avail. However, Sheikh Russel could have at least eked out a point in the stoppage time when Mithun found Mohammedan keeper Mamun Khan in a one-on-one situation from nine yards out, but the diminutive striker shoot off-target, extinguishing all chances of a point for the potential title-contenders.