Friday, 29 September, 2023

High-voltage Dhaka Derby in Federation Cup final today

  • Sports Correspondent
  • 30 May, 2023 12:00 AM
  • Print news
High-voltage Dhaka Derby in Federation Cup final today
(From left to right) Players of Dhaka Abahani Limited take part in a training session at the Shaheed Dhirendranath Datta Stadium in Cumilla on Monday. Mohammedan Sporting Club players stretch during a practice session at the same venue. – COLLECTED PHOTOS

Dhaka Abahani Limited will be locking horns against Mohammedan Sporting Club in a Dhaka Derby final of the ongoing edition of Bashundhara Group Federation Cup 2022-23 after 14 years at the Shaheed Dhirendranath Datta Stadium in Cumilla today.

The match is scheduled to start at 03:15pm and will be telecast live on T Sports.

The arch-rivals last met in the 22nd Federation Cup final in 2009 when Mohammedan clinched their last and tenth title of this prestigious event with a 4-1 tie-breaker after the goalless 90-minute.

Since then, the traditional black and white have been waiting for the Fed Cup final for 14 years. In contrast, the sky blue brigade Abahani entered into the final five times and bagged the titles on all occasions.

The rivalry between Abahani and Mohammedan, which is also known as Dhaka Derby, has always been considered as the most-hyped match since the Independence of Bangladesh as both sides have always been trying to prove their supremacy in the country’s domestic football.

The Fed Cup final is going to be the last Dhaka Derby of this ongoing domestic season 2022-23. The rivals previously met two times in Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) where Abahani won the first leg with 2-0 goals while the second leg was tied 1-1. 

However, both sides seemed confident enough ahead of the season’s last derby. They held training sessions at the venue on Monday.

Abahani’s Portuguese head coach Mario Lemos said that they have to be focused and disciplined in the match.

“Mohammedan are a strong side. A tough match is waiting for us. Mohammedan will not give us so many chances on the field. They are also able to score at any time. We have to be focused and disciplined in the match,” Lemos said.

“They have a good attacking side. We have to be very careful with Emmanuel and Diabate. The derby match is always something special. We have to give our best,” he said.

Mohammedan coach Alfaz Ahmed believes his side are boosted with confidence after beating the giants Bashundhara Kings in the semifinal.

“We have to respect Abahani. We can’t judge their strength before the match. Who have the mental fitness and physical strength and are able to play well and will win the final? They have some big names in forward like Augusto and Colindres. But we have some special plans for them,” Alfaz said.

“Beating Bashundhara is a big motivation for us. If we are able to beat such a big team like Bashundhara, we are also able to beat Abahnai. Of course, it depends on our performance as well as luck,” the former national footballer said.

Both Abahani and Mohammedan maintained their unbeaten run on their way to the final in this ongoing Federation Cup. 

Mohammedan ended top in the four-team Group A with two wins against Rahamatganj Muslim Friends Society by 1-0, Azampur Football Club Uttara by 7-0 and a 2-2 draw with Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club.

The traditional black and white crushed Chattogram Abahoni by 4-1 in the quarterfinal before eliminating Kings by 2-1 in the semifinal.

While Abahani also finished top in the three-team Group C with an all win record against Bangladesh Police Football Club and Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra by 1-0 and (5)3-3(3) goals respectively.

The sky blue brigade narrowly escaped Sheikh Jamal by 1-0 in the quarterfinal and outplayed Sheikh Russel by 3-0 in the semifinal.

The rivals met first in a Dhaka League match in 1973 when Abahani won the match by 2-0 goals, courtesy by Amalesh Sen and Kazi Salahuddin. Since then, they have played hundreds of matches in different leagues and competitions.

 The reigning champions Abahani have established supremacy in Fed Cup by winning titles twelve times in 1982, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2010, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2021-22 while Mohammedan clinched the title ten times in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1987, 1989, 1995, 2002, 2008 and 2009. 

Mohammedan and Abahani met in the Fed Cup final a total of ten times since their first encounter in 1981.

Mohammedan won six finals in 1981, 1983, 1989, 1995, 2008, 2009 while Abahani clinched the title twice in 1988, 2000 and they were declared joint champions two times in 1982 and 1984.