Six foreign players, including three Malaysians and as many Indians, arrived here for Abahani Limited and Mariner Youngs Club as the two title favourites reached the final of the Khwaja Rahmatullah Club Cup Hockey Tournament 2018 after winning their respective semi-finals at Maulana Bhasani National Stadium in Dhaka Saturday.
One of Abahani's three Malaysian recruits, striker Izwan Ferdaus netted four goals while youngster Mohammad Mohsin added three as holder Abahani handed Victoria Sporting Club a crushing 11-1 defeat in the first semi-final.
Reigning top-flight champion Mariner on the other hand had to toil a bit harder to find the net but still managed to earn a comfortable 3-0 win over Sonali Bank to set up a final clash with Abahani, scheduled to be held Sunday evening. National striker Hasan Jubair Niloy scored twice, in the eighth and 49th minute, while Mahbub Hossain added the other in the 55th minute.
This is the first time in Bangladesh for Izwan who informed that he made 102 appearances for Malaysia team before hanging his boots after featuring in the Rio Olympics Qualifiers in 2016. Abahani's other two foreign recruits - Azwar bin Rahman and Jul Pidaus - also made their debut while head coach Mahbub Harun informed that another Malaysian was due to arrive Saturday night.
Mariner fielded their three Indian recruits - Yograj Singh, Parampreet Singh and Shaibaz Shaikh. The trio landed in Dhaka Friday. Yograj was called up to the national camp while Shaibaz has experience of playing in the Oman and Qatar leagues.
Abahani went ahead in the second minute from the first penalty corner of the game after Izwan's push and Azwar's stop was converted by Ashraful Islam. Izwan doubled the lead two minutes later with a brilliant hit from the edge of the circle. Izwan scored again from a quick and organised attack in the 10th minute.
Mohsin extended the lead in the 20th and 23rd minute before Azwar added another a minute later. Youth hockey team captain Sohanur Rahman Sabuj continued Abahani's scoring spree in the 47th minute from a penalty corner. Izwan scored again two minutes later, firing home into the top-right corner, before adding another from the centre of the circle in the 53rd minute. Rakib scored a consolation for Victoria in the 62nd minute. Ashraful netted his second from a penalty corner in the 64th minute while Mohsin completed his treble in the 66th minute.
(Ashraful 2, 64, Izwan 4, 10, 49, 53, Mohsin 20, 23, 66, Azwar 24, Sabuj 47) 1 Victoria
(Niloy 8, 49, Mahbub 55) 0 Sonali Bank
Abahani v Mariner
The game will be held at Maulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium in Dhaka