Abahani, Rahmatganj through to Independence Cup semis

Abahani, rahmatganj through to independence cup semis0

Abahani Limited escaped a penalty shootout scare against Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club to advance to the Independence Cup semifinals with a 3-2 win on penalties in the second quarterfinal on Sunday at Bashundhara Kings arena.

Rahmatganj MFS advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 2018 with a 2-1 win over Bangladesh Police FC in the first quarterfinal of the day.

After ordinary time ended 0-0, Jonathan Fernandes scored four minutes into extra time to give Abahani the lead.

Washington Brandao of Abahani could have ended the game in the first half of extra time, but the tall forward was unable to beat Sheikh Jamal goalie Nayeem in a one-on-one situation.

Higor Leite, Sheikh Jamal’s Brazilian recruit, then levelled the score in stoppage time of the first half of extra time with a spectacular free kick.

As a result of neither team scoring in the second half of extra time, the game was decided on penalties.

Shamim Hossain, Abahani’s substitute custodian, stopped two shots in the shootout, but off-target attempts from teammates Emeka Oghbog and Rabiul Hasan erased Abahani’s lead.

Finally, Iran’s Milan Sheikh Soleimani converted the final penalty, confirming Abahani’s place in the semifinal.

In the previous match of the day, Rahmatganj MFS’s Ghanaian forward Samuel Mensah Konney scored a brace to help them defeat Police FC.

Police FC, who have reached the Independence Cup semifinals the last two years, put Rahmatganj under pressure from the opening and came close to scoring twice but were denied by custodian Md Nayem.

The referee then awarded a penalty to Police FC after Rahmatganj defender Md Sayde knocked down Venezuelan player Edward Enrique within the box.

Colombian forward Edis Horacio Garcia scored from the penalty spot in the 24th minute.

However, Police could only maintain their lead for five minutes when Rahmatganj scored two nearly similar goals in rapid succession to gain a decisive lead in the match.

Uzbek defender Iskandar Siddik Jonov headed down a free-kick from Sushanta Tripura in the 29th minute, and Samuel subsequently drove home from inside the box.

Just two minutes later, Tripura found Iskander with another free-kick, who found Samuel and flicked the ball home from close range.

Police dominated possession in the second half but were unable to challenge Rahmatganj’s backline.

In stoppage time, Police FC had an opportunity to equalise, but Edward Enrique fired wide from close range, and Kamal Babu’s charges were triumphant.

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