Olawala Afeez (L) of Manang Marsyangdi Club celebrates with teammates after scoring their first goal against Mohammedan Sporting Club of Bangladesh during a Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup match in Chittagong, Bangladesh on Sunday.
KATHMANDU, Feb 19: African recruit Olawale O Afeez inspired visiting Manang Marsyangdi Club to a 2-0 win over home team Mohammedan Sporting Club of Bangladesh on Sunday in the Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup.
Afeez scored the opening goal and set another for Bishal Rai as Manang made a winning start to the tournament being held at the M A Aziz Stadium, Chittagong.
In its first match of Group B, Manang went ahead with Afeez's goal in the 53rd minute.
Afeez chipped in at the open post from the edge of the box in a counter attack utilizing a long pass from Rohit Chand. Bishal Rai extended Manang's lead to 2-0 three minutes from time after he collected Afeez's pass from the middle of the pitch. Afeez was later declared the man-of-the-match.
With the win over last edition's semifinalist, Manang has strengthened its semifinal bid.
After the match, Manang's head coach Chhiring Lopsang said that improved performance from his players in the second half saw his team pulling the victory over the home side.
“As the match was against the home team, our players felt pressure in the first half. But after improving the team's coordination in the second half, we were able to produce the win,” said head coach Lopsang. He also said that Mohammedan was defensively poor in the second half which made it easy for his players to score goals. “Comparatively, our opponent was defensively weak in the second half and we successfully took advantage of that situation,” added Lopsang.
Meanwhile, both teams failed to utilize a handful goal-scoring opportunities in the first half. Manang could have scored the opening goal in the 29th minute when a Bangladeshi defender, Eljta Benjamin, lost possession of the ball in the penalty box. Few minutes later, Ogabemiro Olasemi Samson failed to produce a goal when his long range effort was denied by Mohammedan goalie Namun Khan. In the 38th minute, Manang survived a scare as its defender Adama Boh Sissoko seized the ball from Mohammedan's Tawhidil Alam Sabuz in the penalty box preventing the home team's skipper from attempting a shot. Just two minutes before the second half, Mohammedan missed another chance to score after Aminur Rahman Sajib hit the woodwork.
In the 51st minute, Mohammedan had another golden opportunity to score when Sajib had a chance to make a close range shot but Manang's goalie Dinesh Thapa Magar made a brilliant save. Rohit, who was lively throughout the match, created another clever pass for Olawale in the edge of the penalty box but the African striker's shot went inches wide.
Man-of-the-match Afeez was rewarded with US$ 500.
After facing the defeat, Mohammedan's head coach Abdul Kaiyum Santu said that poor defense was the main reason behind the poor result. “Especially in the second half, my players played very poorly defensively,” said head coach Santu.
Meanwhile, in another match of the same group played on the same day, Chittagong Abahani defeated Afghanistan's Shaheen Asmayee FC 3-1.
Manang will now take on Shaheen Asmayee FC on Wednesday and will vie against Chittagong Abahani two days later in the last group stage match.