Enamul sinks New Road

Source: The Daily Star

Thursday May 13, 2010: A brace from prolific striker Enamul Haque gave hosts Abahani a good start in the AFC President's Cup Group A qualifiers after they handed a 2-0 defeat to Nepal's New Road Team in the day's second match under floodlight at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.

Abahani's national striker Enamul maintained his international form to strike one goal apiece in each half as the long-haired forward had earlier scored 11 goals for Bangladesh.

Abahani, who are close to winning the domestic professional football league title three times in a row, successfully translated their amazing league performance into the AFC President's Cup and left the field with heads held high.

Though the booters of the first match suffered from scorching heat but the players had no such problems in the evening game as it got underway under breezy conditions and Abahani played in a similar pace throughout the 90 minutes to keep the Nepalese defenders busy.

Coach Amalesh Sen fielded five defenders, preferring Ghanaian recruit Awudu Ibrahim as the lone striker and the pulsating movement of Abahani's foreign recruit kept New Road's defenders at bay in the first half.

Abahani came within a whisker of taking a lead in the fourth minute when Awudu Ibrahim, set by Motiur Munna, drove a powerful shot outside the box that went inches over the bar much to the relief of goalkeeper Surendra Kumar Shrestha.

The Sky Blues kept on creating chances before Enamul and Awudu played a cute one-two to split the defence to enter the danger zone and the Bangladesh League took a position on the right to smash a square-pass off Awudu home to give Abahani a deserved lead in the 27th minute.

Awudu, the most reliable player of Abahani, then could have doubled the advantage but the inspirational striker blasted straight to goalkeeper Surendra.

After the break, Amalesh brought two changes sending Zahed Parvez Chowdhury and Shahedul Islam in place of Pranotosh Kumar and Mehdi Hasan Ujjal in a bid to establish more control in the midfield, and the input paid off for the hosts immediately.

A Zahed Parvez cross from the right was handled by Sagar Thapa and referee Kim Sang Woo awarded a penalty for the hosts and Enamul deceived opponent goalkeeper to send the ball to his right-hand corner to double the margin in the 68th minute.

Before the second, Abahani's real scare came in the 65th minute when Mosavi Shayan darted in the box with goalkeeper Biplob to beat, but the Danish striker hit straight to the Abahani goalie to squander a chance of an equaliser.

Shayan then squandered two more chances, hitting the woodwork in the 75th minute and smashing the second straight to goalkeeper Biplob.

Enamul could have gotten a treble in the last moment but Zahed instead of passing it to the unmarked Enamul struck straight to goalkeeper Shurendra.

Abahani coach Amalesh was happy with the victory but not the result.

"It could have been pleasant for us had we won the game with a 4-0 margin. We also created the chances, but could not avail those," said Amalesh adding that they had an intention to start the campaign with a big margin.

Despite going down, Yogamber Suwal was happy with the way his boys played.

"Abahani capitalised the opportunities but we could not and it basically made the difference. Besides the boys could not cope with the heat," said Suwal.

ABAHANI: Biplob Bhattacharjee, Rajani Kanto Barman, Atiqur Rahman Mishu, Ibnul Siraji, Mohammad Sujan, Samad Yousuf, Motiur Munna, Pranotosh Kumar (Zahed Parvez Chowdhury), Mehdi Hasan Ujjal (Shahedul Alam), Awudu Ibrahim (Abul Hossain) and Emanul Haque.

NEW ROAD: Surendra Kumar Shrestha, Biraj Maharjan, Umesh Upreti, Jeevan Sinkemana, Nirajan Rayamajhi, Ghavghani Mosavi Shayan, Rajesh Khadagi, Nabin Neupane, Roshan Lamichhane, Sagar Thapa and Rajit Shrestha (Laxman Ruchal).

Yellow cards: Mehdi Hasan Ujjal (Abahani), Jeevan and Sagar (New Road Team)

Referee: Kim Sang Woo (Korea Republic).

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