Abahani, Usha crowned joint hockey champsStaff Correspondent
Abahani and Usha KC finished as Green Delta Insurance Premier Division Hockey League co-champions after Abahani’s 3-0 win over Usha KC at the Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium on Sunday.
The result left both teams level on 24 points from nine matches and produced league co-champions for the fifth time, after 1990, 1991, 2006 and 2010.
The competition bylaws state that a playoff match to determine an outright champion could have been held today, but neither side was willing to play without a rest period.
‘Considering the situation, both teams were declared champions by the league committee,’ Bangladesh Hockey Federation general secretary Khaja Rahmatullah said after an emergency league committee meeting.
‘They wanted at least two days for rest before the play-off, but the foreign umpires will leave the country on Monday and it is not possible to conduct a big match without foreign umpires.
‘It is not the first time that we have declared joint champions; we also did it before a few times after considering the situation.’
Abahani faced a must-win situation to keep their hopes alive having entered the match-up trailing Club Cup champions Usha by three points. They received a standout performance from goalkeeper Asim Ghop, who stopped four of six penalty corners from Usha’s Mamunur Rahman Chayan.
Abahani took the lead in the seventh minute with a penalty corner after Pakistani recruit Hashim Khan ran down the left and passed to compatriot Amir Shahzada, who was blocked by Usha defender Taposh Barman inside the box. Pakistani defender Kashif Ali converted the penalty, the first of the match.
Usha were in control of the match after the break and repeatedly won penalty corners, but Asim kept them out and Abahani counter-attacked, producing a number of chances to extend their lead before national striker Pushkor Khisha Mimo finally added the Sky Blues’ second with a flick off Toushif’s hit in the 65th minute.
Mimo sealed the result with his second goal of the match after winning the ball from Chayan and sending it into the Usha net one minute from time.
The victory gave Abahani its fifth Premier Division title since the Division was created in 1998, while Usha claimed its fourth Premier Division championship.
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