From our Staff:
K-Electric FC ended its Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup 2015 campaign at the MA Aziz Stadium in Chittagong, Bangladesh with a third successive defeat on 24 October 2015. Needing a huge win to have any chance in progressing to next round, KE lost their Group B clash with hosts Chittagong Abahani 4-2.
A crazy first half saw the hosts lead 3-2 by half-time with KE’s talismanic striker Muhammad Rasool scoring a brace – including a penalty – after continued woeful defending from his teammates. The Chitral hitman took his tournament tally to 4 goals in 3 games. KE’s struggling goalkeeper Ghulam Nabi was eventually replaced by substitute goalkeeper Jehangir Khan 10 minutes before half-time.
In 2nd half, Chittagong Abahani went down to 10 men when their African defender Yussuf Issah was sent-off for a second yellow in 60th minute. K-Electric failed to take advantage as the hosts kept the pressure by maintaining possession and creating chances. KE’s substitutes Sohail Nawaz and Jon Ashworth also couldn’t make the desired impact to reduce deficit. Eventually, a foul by a KE defender during a Chittagong corner gifted the hosts a penalty with 7 minutes left on the clock. Despite a save from Jehangir Khan, Chittagong Abahani scored from the rebound to make it 4-2 and could have added another in the final seconds.
The victory for home side, and India’s Kingfisher East Bengal playing a 0-0 draw with Dhaka Abahani in other Group B game, made Chittagong Abahani join the Kolkata giants in the next round of the Sheikh Kamal Cup.
In Group A, Mohammadan SC Dhaka thrashed Sri Lanka’s Solid SC 6-1 while Afghanistan champions De Spin Ghar Bazan played a thrilling 3-3 draw with Mohammedan SC Kolkata on 23 October. Group A matches will conclude today (25 Oct 2015) to decide their next round participants.
Three successive defeats for K-Electric pose serious questions to the coaching staff, currently led by UK-based Majid Shafiq, about how to prepare for next year’s AFC Cup qualifying rounds. When not being humbled by poor defending or conceding possession too quickly, KE did look good going forward with Rasool always a threat and ably supported by winger Muhammad Riaz and Nigerian attacker Sunday Oludeyi. KE captain Muhammad Essa Khan did do well with holding the ball, but his lack of pace in midfield was fully exploited by the opposition in all 3 games, and Essa would also be disappointed with his set-piece delivery not being up to mark.
However, with the 2015 Pakistan Premier Football League season still being postponed due to on-going political crisis in the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF), K-Electric will have to arrange its own preparations for the AFC Cup and should look to strengthen their squad.
Match Highlights can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/footballpakistan/videos/10156073812630234/