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Lemos hails Abihani's fighting spirit

Friday, May 17, 2019
Mario Lemos

Dhaka: Abahani Limited Dhaka head coach Mario Lemos has described his team's 3-2 win over Chennaiyin in their AFC Cup Group E match as a great match for Bangladesh and the club.

Abahani showed tremendous resilience in coming from a goal down to defeat the previously unbeaten Chennaiyin on Wednesday, having also seen the Indian club hauling themselves back into the match when 2-1 down.

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Chennaiyin, who went into the match on seven points and sitting at the top of the standings, took the lead through CK Vineeth in the sixth minute. Abahani, however, took the lead thanks to two goals in five minutes through Kervens Belfort (64th) and Masih Saighani (69th).

The exciting tie then took another turn when Isaac Vanmalsawma equalised for Chennaiyin but Mamunul Islam's superb strike from range in the 88th minute ensured the three points for Abahani, who are now also on seven points but second on goal difference.


“It was a great match for Bangladesh, a great match for the club. It was 2-2 at one stage and then Mamunul finished brilliantly. The team really put up outstanding performance and the boys showed an unbelievable performance,” said Lemos, who celebrated exuberantly with his players and coaching staff at the end of the match.

Matchwinner Islam was ecstatic to have played a starring role in his team's triumph, especially after they had shown great spirit to comeback after going a goal down early in the match.

“After conceding early, it was a challenge for all of us but we wanted to stay committed and ensure we got a positive result out of this game. The whole team stuck it out and we pushed each other to do well which makes the win even sweeter,” said Islam.

With two matches to go - against Nepal's Manang Marshyangdi Club (home, June 19) and Minerva Punjab (away, June 26) - Islam said Abahani must work on correcting their mistakes if they want to advance to the knockout stage.

“See, it was difficult for us to come back after going down early and we don’t want to repeat that going forward. It isn't every time that we will be able to script such a fightback. It is important that we are more careful moving forward to ensure qualification to the next round.”

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