Defending champions Dhaka Abahani Ltd retained the title of Bangladesh Premier League, outplaying Lt Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club Ltd by 2-0 goals in their round-21 match on Friday.
Dhaka Abahani crowned BPL champions for sixth time with one match in hand to play in this season.
The high voltage encounter of 10th season of BPL took place at Bangabandhu National Stadium in the capital.
The match was crucial for both the teams as it was title decider game for Dhaka while Jamal could have kept their title hope alive if they had defeated Dhaka or had a drawn result in yesterday’s clash.
In the 23rd minute, Dhaka got their most expected lead. Abahani midfielder Sohel Rana dribbled through two midfielders to pass the ball to teammate Nasir Uddin Chowdhury, who changed the fate of the match.Nasir’s header found the nets and put Dhaka players and fans in the rare air of joy.
Abahani forward Saad Uddin missed a valuable opportunity to double their lead in the 28th minute when Jamal’s goalkeeper Md Nayeem failed to defend Saad’s shot. But Jamal forward Khan Mohammad Tara came in to rescue and sent the ball out of the ground.
Jamal’s forward Javed Khan almost managed to level the score at the end of first half when he took a straight shot to Abahani’s post but keeper Shahidul Alam deflected the ball to keep their lead.
The second half of the match was exciting as the first 45 minutes but defending champions Dhaka played safely and maintained their 1-0 lead.
In the closing minute (95th minute) of the match, Abahani forward Sunday Chizoba scored a goal to seal this season’s title for their side.
After the final whistle, the BNS gallery and Abahani dugout began their celebration of retaining the BPL crown.
In the day’s first match, Brothers Union Ltd hammered bottom ranked Farashganj Sporting Club Ltd by 1-0 goal at the same venue.
Brothers forward from Congo Siyo Zunapio scored the lone goal of the match in the 39th minute. Midfielder Masud Rana passed the ball from right wing and Zunapio’s magnificent side volley kick tricked the goalkeeper and touched the nets.
With the defeat, Farashganj are in grave danger of losing their place in the next season of BPL as the bottom team after round-22 will be relegated to second tier league – Bangladesh Championship League.
Bashundhara Kings, the BCL champion of 2017, will join 2018-19 BPL as the newest contender.
In tomorrow’s (Sunday) round-21 fixture, Saif Sporting Club Ltd will face Chittagong Abahani Ltd at 4:30pm in the first match while Mohammedan Sporting Club Ltd will take on Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Chakra at 6:45pm in the second encounter. Both the matches will be played at Bangabandhu National Stadium.