Defending champions Mohammedan Sporting Club opened their Federation Cup campaign with a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Chittagong Abahani, while runners-up Abahani got off to a fast start with a 6-0 triumph over Brothers Union on Tuesday.
After struggling against Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club to earn their first win in three Bangladesh Premier League games on Friday, the Sky Blues dominated over promoted Brothers throughout the Cup match, particularly in the second half, when four goals were scored in 15 minutes at Bashundhara Kings Arena.
Forward Nabib Newaj Jibon set the tone for the match with a great placed shot inside the box after handling a pass from Brazilian forward Washington Brandao, who went on to score the season’s first hat trick.
Washington was fortunate to get his first goal, putting it in with his knee after Iranian defender Milad Sheikh Soleimani knocked down a Jonanthan Fernandes corner on the half hour mark.
Washington Brandao scored his debut goal against Brothers Union in the Bashundhara Kings Arena on January 16, 2023. Photographer: Firoz Ahmed
The Brazilian striker made it 3-0 in the 71st minute with a superb near-post shot, then completed his hat trick two minutes later with a tap-in after a goal-mouth scramble caused by Robiul Hasan’s left-footed strike.
Cornelius Stewart then scored two stunning goals in the 83rd and 86th minutes to seal the victory against Brothers, who were defeated 5-1 by Mohammedan in the league encounter on Friday.
In Gopalganj, Mohammedan faced a hard struggle from Chittagong Abahani, who seized the lead in the 14th minute thanks to a free header by Nigerian Azeez Abolaji Abu.
Mohammedan’s starting lineup for their Federation Cup match against Chittagong Abahani at Gopalganj on January 16, 2023. Photo: BFF.
Mohammedan then equalised in stoppage time of the first half, with Jafar Iqbal shooting from close range after a Mozaffarov free-kick rebounded against the near post.
Mozaffarov scored the winner outside the area after goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana’s clearance fell to him in the 55th minute. Chittagong Abahani had a good chance to equalise in stoppage time, but replacement Hemanta Vincent Biswas was off target, and the opportunity went begging.