Coming from behind, Dhaka Abahani Limited completed the 2nd hat-trick of clinching the Federation Cup Football title beating star-studded and big-budgeted Bashundhara Kings by 3-1 goals in the nail-biting final at the floodlit Bangabandhu National Stadium here on Friday.
With this, the Dhanmondi sky-blue outfit set the record of lifting the three straight trophies of the tournament for the second time – 2016, 2017 and 2018 after 1997, 1998 and 2000 as the federation cup was not held in 1999.
With the win in the final, Abahani Limited not only clinched the Federation Cup Football crown for a record 11th time but also earned the right to play in the prestigious Asia Cup Football as the Bangladesh champions.
Meritorious Nigerian striker Sunday Chizoba struck twice and Haitian forward Kervens Belfort netted one for traditional Abahani Ltd, all in the 2nd half, while Russian World Cup Costa Rica booter Daniel Colindres scored the lone goal for newcomers Bashundhara Kings in the first half.
The keenly contested final featured four red cards — two each of Abahani and Kings.
Nabib Newas Jibon and Mamun Miah of Abahani and Towhidul Alam Saboj and Susanta Tripura of Bashundha Kings got marching in the injury time of the match for clashing with each other.
Colindres put Bashundhara Kings ahead in the 21st minute to the frustration of Abahani fans by a cool left-footer from the danger zone when an Alamgir Kabir Rana’s cross came his way from Abahani custodian Shahidul Alam Sohel (1-0).
Nigerian forward Sunday Chizoba levelled the margin for Abahani Limited in the 50th minute by a light volley shot from close, off a Raihan Hasan pass to the cheers from thousands of Abahani fans (1-0).
Sunday Chizoba put Abahani ahead from behind in the 79th minute by a neat-placing shot, utilising an inside box readymade pass of Sohel Rana from the right wing of the goalmouth melee (2-1).
Haitian forward Kervens Belfort sealed the fate of the match scoring the 3rd goal for Abahani in the 82nd minute by a well-merited header, off a corner shot from Waly Faisal (3-1).
Earlier, Sunday Chizoba deprived Abahani from a goal in the 46th minute as his shot hit the cross bar from close despite beating two opponent defenders.
Colindres of Kings was victim of some rough charges in the match and Abahani defender Topu Barman and Atiqur Rahman Fahad were cautioned with yellow card for the offence.
On way to the final, Dhaka Abahani beat Muktijoddha SKC 1-0 and conceded 0-1 defeat against Sheikh Russel KC in group affairs to reach quarterfinal as group runners-up, beat Arambagh KS 3-2 in the quarterfinal and outplayed former champions Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club by 4-2 goals in the semifinal, featuring tournament’s 3rd hat-trick by Nigerian striker Sunday Chizuba.
Bashundhra Kings emerged Group D champions to reach quarterfinals beating Dhaka Mohammedan SC 5-3, drawing 1-1 with Sheikh Jamal DC and newcomers Nofel SC in group matches. They booked a seat for the semifinals crushing Team BJMC by 5-1 goals and reached the final beating Sheikh Russel KC 1-0 in a marathon 2nd semifinal. unb