Premier League winner Abahani Limited's bitter experience with the Independence Cup continued as they exited in the quarter-final of the season ending tournament after conceding a shocking 3-0 defeat against Arambagh Krira Sangha at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka Friday.
The Sky Blues have won six professional league titles out of 10 editions so far but failed to bag any Independence Cup trophy this millennium. They went close to the silverware last season but lost to Chittagong Abahani Limited in the final.
This however, will be the first time Arambagh would contest the last-four stage of the tournament where they face Lt. Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club Limited in the first semi-final Monday. After a barren opening half, Abu Sufian Sufil, Mohammad Jewel and Shahrier Bappy netted one apiece in the second half to seal the memorable win.
Abahani missed the service of the hard working Emon Mahmud at the heart of midfield due to injury while national defender Rayhan Hasan couldn't start the game for the same reason. Abahani coach Atikur Rahman blamed poor defending and finishing for the defeat. Arambagh head coach Maruful Haque was a happy man after the game and hailed the players for proving their ability, as well as implementing the game plan.
Abahani went close to opening the scoring in the 43rd minute when an unmarked Sohel Rana inside the box fired a short pass from Saad Uddin over the crossbar. Two minutes later, youngster Saad headed inches over the bar from a Rubel Miya cross.
Arambagh stunned the Sky Blues by taking the lead in the 62nd minute when Sufil smashed home from the middle of the box following a cutback by Arif from the left flank. Forward Jewel doubled the lead in the 81st minute, chipping home over onrushing goalkeeper Shahidul Alam Sohel after controlling nicely from an Arif long ball.
The Arambagh outfit sealed victory by extending their lead to 3-0 when midfielder Bappy found the top right corner with a brilliant left-footed strike from outside the right side of the box.
(Sufil 62, Jewel 81, Bappy 85) 0 Abahani
Arambagh v Sk Jamal, BNS, Dhaka