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Sunday shines on Monday, sets up Friday final for Abahani

  • Published at 09:37 pm November 19th, 2018
Abahani's Sohel Rana in action during their Federation Cup semi-final against Sheikh Jamal in Dhaka Monday Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik

Sunday Chizoba, last season’s top-scorer in the league, has been playing in Bangladesh for more than half-a-decade, exhibiting some of his finest performances with the Sky Blues

Domestic league’s proven Nigerian striker Sunday Chizoba netted a brilliant hat-trick as reigning champion Abahani Limited reached the final of the Walton Federation Cup for the third time in succession after beating Lt. Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club 4-2 in the first semi-final at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka Monday.

It was a different story in the second half after a barren opening half, especially in the last 11 minutes of the game when four goals were scored, including two by Sunday.

The Nigerian completed his first hat-trick of the season while forward Didarul Alam came off the bench to pull two back for Sheikh Jamal.

Sunday, last season’s top-scorer in the league, has been playing in Bangladesh for more than half-a-decade, exhibiting some of his finest performances with the Sky Blues.

He also scored a hat-trick against the same opponent during the Independence Cup semi-final in 2016. 

The Nigerian thanked God after the latest treble, and also credited his teammates for the win.

Sunday struggled a bit to beat the offside trap on a few occasions in the first half where Abahani goalkeeper Shahidul Alam Sohel put on a solid display. 

Sohel made a fine save in the 40th minute when Gambian forward Solomon King’s free-kick from the left side was slightly deflected by Shawkat Russel’s header, but Sohel was alert.

Sunday showed great technique to receive a quick cross from the right flank by Rubel Mia before taking a step back and unleashing a shot that was blocked by the defence.

Sheikh Jamal’s Argentine striker Emanuel Perez had a couple of chances 10 minutes into the second half. 

It was a decent save by Sohel during Perez’s first attempt before Sainey Bojang’s fine work through the left flank created another chance for the Argentine. 

This time the effort was blocked.

Abahani’s Asian quota (Afghanistan) recruit, Masih Saighani finally broke the breakthrough in the 56th minute, smashing home from a goal-mouth scramble following a Rubel corner.

Sunday doubled the lead after earning a penalty in the 65th minute. 

Defender Shamol Mia brought down Sunday inside the box before the Nigerian sent the Sheikh Jamal keeper the wrong way from the spot.  

Didarul, who replaced Shakhawat Rony, made an immediate impact by pulling one back in the 79th minute with a neat placing shot following a defence-splitting through pass from Bojang.  

Sunday outwitted four defenders inside the box to head home a Waly Faisal free-kick to extend the lead in the 82nd minute, before Didarul scored again within two minutes. 

Sunday completed his hattrick as well as sealed the winner two minutes later with a powerful strike from 25 yards out.

Abahani head coach SM Zakaria Babu was a delighted man after seeing Sunday return to goalscoring form, but he also hailed the team effort for the win, and wants to carry it to the final Friday. 

Sheikh Jamal’s Nigerian head coach Joseph Afusi was content with his team’s performance, and termed Abahani’s team work for making the difference.

Sunday is currently the joint top-scorer of the Federation Cup, along with Bashundhara Kings’ Costa Rican striker Daniel Colindres, with four goals. 

The Nigerian wants to finish as the top-scorer of the tournament.


Abahani 4 (Masih 56, Sunday 65-P, 82, 86) 2 Sheikh Jamal (Didarul 79, 84)

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