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Jamal storm into final

Staff Correspondent

Sheikh Jamal’s Haitian forward Sony Norde celebrates after scoring in their Federation Cup semi-final against Abahani at the Bangabangdu National Stadium on Saturday. — New Age photo  Sheikh Jamal’s Haitian forward Sony Norde celebrates after scoring in their Federation Cup semi-final against Abahani at the Bangabangdu National Stadium on Saturday. — New Age photo

Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club moved into the Federation Cup final for the fourth consecutive time with a 3-0 thrashing of Abahani Limited in the first semi-final at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Friday.
A brace from Haitian playmaker Sony Norde and a goal by his compatriot Wedson Anselme ensured a comfortable victory for 2010 champions Jamal over Abahani, who were once giants in domestic football. 
Sony, who was a doubt for the match due to a thigh injury, played the key role in securing victory for Jamal, with his two goals taking his tournament tally to seven in four matches.
Sony was well supported by Wedson and Nigerian Ameka Darlington and the trio destroyed the Abahani defence, while Mamunul Islam and Sohel Rana kept the midfield under total control.
Abahani, on the other hand, failed to create any scoring opportunity after conceding three goals within 40 minutes of the first half.
Abahani fielded Luis De Souza for the first time but the Brazilian forward could not make an impact while Ghanaian marksman Osei Morrison did not get any assistance from his team-mates.
Haitian forward Wedson put Sheikh Jamal ahead in the fifth minute when he chipped the ball over the Abahani keeper from Darlington’s low cross from outside of the box.
Sony doubled the lead in the 21 minutes, pouncing on a weak back-pass of Abahani skipper Meshu. Sony dodged the onrushing Abahani keeper and placed the ball into an empty net.
Wedson attempted a long-range shot in the 34th minute after a through pass from Sony but saw his shot hit the post.
In the 39th minute, Wedson received a pass from the midfield and rounded a defender before passing the ball to Sony Norde, who finished it with an angular shot to make it 3-0.
Abahani were lucky not to concede any more goals in the second half and they created little chances to reduce the margin.
Bad luck for Sony, who failed to grab a hat-trick in the stoppage time when he blasted a penalty kick off target after being brought down by Samad Eussif inside the penalty area.   
Meanwhile, Muktijoddha Sangsad will face Team BJMC in the second semi-final today and the last four clash will kick-off at 5:00pm. Bangladesh Television will telecast the match live from the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
‘It was all about hard work. We knew what was coming against a team like Abahani. So the players worked really hard for the game. We scored at the right time,’ said Joseph Afusi, Jamal’s Nigerian coach.
Meanwhile, Abahani’s interim coach Amalesh Sen blamed the defence and the goalkeeper.
‘We conceded two goals due to mistakes by the defence and goalkeeper,’ said Amalesh.

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