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Analysis: Points shared after thrilling contest in Dhaka

Thursday, April 18, 2019
Abahani v Minerva

Dhaka: Bangladesh champions Abahani Limited Dhaka made it four points from two matches as they drew 2-2 with India’s Minerva Punjab in Group E Matchday Two of the 2019 AFC Cup.

In a frantic match of many chances, neither side could find the winning goal in an action-packed second half.

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Attack, attack, attack

A total of 42 efforts on goal means there was an attempt almost every two minutes, making for an exciting spectacle for the fans in Dhaka. Each team had six shots on target as both ‘keepers were given a decent workout.

As the graphic below demonstrates, the home side threatened more from inside the penalty area, while Minerva were more inclined to try their luck from distance.

Four goals in a game usually represents decent entertainment and the two sides certainly served up a fine match as they both attacked and went for the three points.

There will be some regrets, however, with both teams also knowing that they had the chances to take the victory.

Minerva’s middle men

A notable feature of the game was how much of it was played in the narrow confines of the centre of the park. Both teams attempted to work their way through their opponents rather than continually trying to hit the touchlines and swing in crosses.

The graphic below shows how Minerva in particular held a very narrow shape over the course of the game. The average positions of most of their players (in dark blue) are clustered at least 15-20 yards in from the touchline.

The home side got into the wide areas more and both of their goals came from crosses. Despite the congested looking midfield, there was enough creativity and attacking intent to produce a considerable number of opportunities for both sides.

Action man Newaz drives Abahani

Nabib Newaz was the epitome of the box-to-box midfielder as he played a key role in helping Abahani gain a point.

The Bangladeshi international’s touchmap (below) shows just how involved he was in all areas of the pitch and he capped off a fine performance with the goal that drew his side level in the first half.

Newaz’s pass completion rate was an impressive 87.5 percent, while he had a total of six efforts on goal, including his successful attempt.

While other teammates may have got on the ball more, Newaz’s contributions reflected the energy he put into the game and with a bit of luck he might have struck the winning goal with a couple of efforts that came close in the second half.

Abahani next host another Indian side, Chennaiyin FC, in two weeks time while Minerva travel to Nepal to face Manang Marshyangdi Club with both sides maintaining hope of topping the group and advancing to the knockout rounds.

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