Mohammedan win Independence Cup title

Mohammedan goal keeper Mamun Khan emerged as the hero once again
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Mamun Khan emerged as the hero for Mohammedan once again as his gallant display helped the traditional Black and Whites clinch the Modhumoti Bank Independence Cup title by beating a spirited Feni Soccer Club 5-4 in penalty shoot-out in the final yesterday evening at the Bangabondhu National Stadium. Mamun was also Mohammedan’s hero in their Super Cup final triumph against Sheikh Russell last season which also rolled into a tiebreaker.

Feni Soccercan still leave the field with their heads high as they produced a courageous display and kept the score goalless after the end of 120 minutes with a never-say-die attitude on the pitch. The only missed penalty which ultimately proved to be the difference between the two sides, was taken by KabbaJobe. Credit must be given to Mohammedan keeper Mamun Khan who denied the Gambian striker with a decent save.

The Black and Whites proved the significance of experience in big stage with a solid display but it was Feni Soccer, who actually won the hearts with their speedy, fearless and dominating performance backed up by a solid defense even though they were playingin a final of a professional football tournament for the first time in their history.

It seemed like Mohammedan had worked extra hard on taking penalties prior to the final as all of their five players- Emily, Damian Chigozie, Sohag, ZongoOusseni, Ubom Henry made no mistake in the penalty shootout by giving Feni keeper Nehal no chance. Nehalwas outstanding for 120 minutes and could have been the best player if Feni had won the game. However, hewas later adjudged the most valuable player of the tournament. After Kabba missed the opening penalty, Mathew Mendy, Abdullah Al Mamun, Chuka Charles and Landing successfully converted their spot kicks for Feni Soccer.

The scoreline, however, tells very little about what happened in the stipulated time which ended goalless. Both the side created abundance of opportunitiessince the beginning and it was a great surprise to see the matchfinish goalless even after extra time.

TawhidulAlamSabuj had the first opportunity to put Mohammedan ahead after just six minutes of the match. Feni defender Liton failed to clear a long ball which allowed Sabujto sprint forward into the box. But his angular shot was saved brilliantly by Feni keeper Nehal.

Azmal Hossain Bidduit wasted his chance a minute lateras he shot straight at the keeper after a nice build-up play. Captain Akbar Hossain Ridon could have scored the opener in the 15th minute when KabbaJobe cut the ball back to him in the middle of the box but the captain wasted time and chance to see his effort eventually blocked by a defender.

Emily, who scored four goals in the tournament prior to the final, squandered a chance in the 28th minute when the national striker failed to get to the end of a cross from Arup Kumar Baidyainside the six-yard box.

Opportunitiescame knocking again after the resumption. A cutback fromSabuj allowed Emily to dribble past a defender and then the striker fired the ball over the crossbar after three minutes into the second half. Feni responded quickly with a counter attack that ended with Chuka Charles’ shot blocked by a defender.

Mamun Khan produced a brilliant save to rescue Mohammedan’s day in the 55th minute. After a pass from Kabba, Landing Darboe unleashed a powerful strike from 25 yards out but Mamun Khan denied the Gambian with a flying fingertip save.

If Mamun’s save was Mohammedan’s best then Nehal perhaps made the save of the tournament in the 72nd minute. With great technique and control, Emily took a powerful left-footed shot from the top of the box but Nehal reacted promptly and stretched fully to dive to his right to produce a stunning save.

The game rolled into the additional 30 minutes whereboth sides wasted incredible chances. Landing had a 25-yard strike flying inches over the bar. Mohammedan had the best chance. In the 25th minute of the extra time, Zongo, the unmarked Burkina Faso striker, failed to put the ball into the empty net after Emily’s grounder deflected off a defender. 

As even 120 minutes couldn’t separate the two teams, the match had to be decided on a tie-breaker inevitably where Mohammedan came up on top.

Source: Dhaka Tribune

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