Abahani and Minerva Punjab AFC Cup tie ends in 2-2 draw

DHAKA, April 17, 2019 : Dhaka Abahani Limited, came from behind to force former I League champions Indian Minerva Punjab to a 2-2 goal draw in their second group E encounter of AFC Cup 2019 Qualifier scheduled held on today (Wednesday) at Bangabandhu National Stadium (BNS).

Despite the day’s draw, Abahani Limited still leads the points table with four points from two matches while Minerva Punjab bagged two points also playing the same number of outings.

In the day’s match, Minerva Punjab took lead early in the 16th minute. Mid fielder Mahmoud Al Amnah’s right footed shot from centre of the box off a pass from Makan Winkle Chote gave no chance to Shahidul Alam Sohel to react under the bar off a pass from Kervens Belfort.

However their joy lasted a few minutes as striker Nabib Newaz Jibon restored the parity for Abahani Limited in the 20th minute with a left footed shot from very close range off a pass from Kervens Belfort (1-1).

Minerva Punjab again took lead as striker Sreyas Gopalan scored the second goal for his team with a perfect right footed shot from outside the box in the 42nd minute.

Abahani were deprived from a certain goal in the 44th minute as foreign recruit Wellington Priori’s header from the right side of the box went out of play after kissing the right side bar following a cross taken by Rubel Miya.

Abahahani missed another scoring chance when Nabib Newaz Jibon’s long-range right footed shot was brilliantly blocked by Minerva Punjab’s goalie in the added time of the first half.

After the resumption, Abahani came back strongly with more organized football and immediately got the reward in the 48th minute. This time Nigerian striker Sunday Chizoba Nwadialu scored the second goal with a left footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal following a set piece situation.

Abahani launched series of attacks in the second half but failed to increase the margin lack of proper finishing. The popular sky-blue Dhanmondi outfit Abahani will play their home match against Chennaiyin FC of India on April 30 in their home away match at Arena Stadium in Ahmedabad, India.

In the remaining group matches, Dhaka Abahani Limited will play two home matches against Chennaiyin FC on May 15 and Manang Marshyangdi Club of Nepal on June 19, both at BNS and will play their last away match against Minerva Punjab of India on June 26 at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

Earlier, Abahani Limited beat Nepal’s Manang Marshyangdi Club 1-0 in the first match away from home. On the other hand, Minerva Punjab currently played out to a goalless draw against fellow Indians Chennaiyin FC.