Late goal gives Jamal Cup glorySudipta Ananda
Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club regained the Federation Cup trophy after losing last season’s final as they beat Muktijoddha Sangsad KC 1-0 at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Friday.
Defender Nasir Uddin Chowdhury scored the winning goal eight minutes before the final whistle to give Sheikh Jamal their second Fed Cup trophy in their fourth consecutive appearance in the final.
Sheikh Jamal were worthy winners of the season-opening tournament, as the Dhanmondi-based club put in a series of consistent displays.
This is the third trophy in Sheikh Jamal’s brief but illustrious history. The club attained professional status just four seasons ago.
The Blue and Yellows constructed an expensive squad this season with a group of quality national and foreign players in a bid to redeem last season’s disappointing trophy-less return.
Muktijoddha, on the other hand, could be content with a runners-up finish with a squad without any national stars. Their team of mostly young, out-of-favour national footballers unlocked their potential by executing their coach’s strategy.
Throughout the tournament, Mukti coach Shafiqul Islam Manik employed a counter-attacking strategy. In the final they were able to thwart Jamal’s attacking trio of Haitian Sony Norde, his compatriot Wedson Anselme and Nigerian Emeca Darlington.
The trio were unable to impose their authority and could not script a single goal-scoring opportunity. until Nasir scored with a header from a Norde corner.
The Muktijoddha defence performed admirably in conceding just one goal, which was better than expected given Jamal’s fire power.
Norde, who scored seven goals in four matches, came into the final in blistering form but was tightly marked by the Muktijoddha back four, leaving the Haitian unable to display his normal, attacking self.
About seven thousand spectators witnessed the final with high expectations, but Norde could not demonstrate his dazzling array of skills.
Three-time champions Muktijoddha, who reached their first final in eight years, almost took the game to extra time, only for Nasir to change the complexion of the game.
Muktijoddha defenders intercepted several Sheikh Jamal’s attacks only to concede eight minutes from the final whistle.
Before the goal, Sheikh Jamal came closest to scoring in the 38th minute of the first half, when Norde released Anselme on the left-flank but Wedson’s shot just missed the left-side post.
Right before the referee blew the whistle to signal the end of the first half,
Anselme again threatened the Muktijoddha goal as he tried to find a pair of unmarked Sheikh Jamal forwards lying in wait in the box, but the Haitian’s pass was blocked by
Muktijoddha custodian Liton.
Sheikh Jamal finally broke the deadlock in the 83rd minute when Norde curled in a corner from the left flag and defender Nasir connected with a
brilliant header from six yards out.
Anselme of Sheikh Jamal was adjudged the player of the final, while his countryman Norde received a 125cc Walton motorcycle as the player of the tournament.
Sk Jamal DC 1 (Nasiruddin 82) v Muktijoddha
Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club players and officials celebrate with the trophy after defeating Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Chakra in the final of the Federation Cup at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Friday. Ã¢€” Sourav Loskar
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