Abahani Limited made a good start in the AFC President’s Cup qualifier beating Sri Lanka Army team by 2-1 goals at the floodlit Bangabandhu National Stadium here on Tuesday.
Super-sub Tipu gave Dhaka Abahani a winning start scoring the winner during their 2-1 victory over Sri Lanka Army in the first Group B match of the AFC President’s Cup at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Tuesday.
Abahani ruled the day but missed a good number of opportunities throughout the match. Sri Lanka Army tried out a counterattack-based game but were at the receiving end throughout the match.
Abahani dominated the first half with numerous attacks down the flanks and through the midfield. However, their efforts fell short till defender Waly Faisal broke the deadlock late in the first half.
Abahani showed their intentions from the very beginning and midfielder Abul missed the first scoring opportunity in the 12th minute. Army keeper Ruwan Fernando missed the line of a Mamun corner but unmarked Abul failed to head the ball into an empty net.
Abahani continued the onslaught and in the 20th minute Emily, back in action after a two month layoff, saw his header rest into the lap of Ruwan off a Jahed Parvez cross.
Abahani’s Ghanaian attacker Awudu Ibrahim was unstoppable in the opposition box but his partnership with Emily never clicked. In the 36th minute, Awudu shot wide from the top of the box.
Abahani’s frustration continued in the 40th minute when Sri Lankan defender Wijesiri cleared an Abul goal-bound head with Ruwan stranded in the far post.
When the strikers were fumbling again and again, defender Waly Faisal came to the rescue. Zahed Parvez rolled the ball from the flag instead of floating the corner and onrushing Waly struck a thunderbolt to send the ball into the far post from 25 yards.
However, their joy lasted for less than a minute as Ghanaian defender Samad Youssif deflected a harmless Issa Deen minus into his own net stunning the five thousand or so spectators.
Abahani came back fresh in the second half and continued their aggressive approach in pursuit of a goal. Abul saw his grounder off an Awudu back-heel punched by a diving Ruwan in the 62nd minute. Emily placed over off a Waly Faisal minus from the six-yard box. In the 66th minute Awudu inserted all his power in the right foot but the ball missed the cross piece by a few inches.
Super-sub Tipu showed his prowess just two minutes into his stint as a substitute. Coming in for Emily, Tipu sent the ball into the far corner of Ruwan cashing in on the rebound of a Mamun shot.
Demoralised Sri Lanka Army came out of the shell in the dying minutes but the efforts of Ashanka De Silva and Lasantha Kumara went in vein.
Sri Lanka Army face Ashgabat in the second match of the group on Thursday.
Abahani Limited will play their second group match against Ashgabad Turkmenistan on May 16 at the same venue.
Abahani Limited – Biplob, Sujan, Mamun, Prantosh, Emily (Tipu), Pervaz, Siraji, Yussif Abul, Faisal and Ibrahim.
Sri Lanka Army – Fernando, Sanka, Murshid, Perera, Izzadeen, Jayathunga, Lasantha, De Silva (Sukarshana), Warakagoda and Priyamkra (Dahanayaka).
Thursday match: Ashgabad Turkmenistan vs Sri Lanka Army (BNS, 6pm).