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Defending champions Dhaka Abahani Ltd defeated newcomer Saif Sporting Club Ltd by 3-2 goals in the hard-fought opener of the 10th Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) football at Bangabandhu National Stadium on Friday.

Abahani took lead in the 22nd minute with their Nigerian forward Emeka Darlington scoring the 1st goal of the 12-team tournament.

Emeka headed the ball home from the right corner of the box off a corner shot from forward Rubel Mia from the left side, 1-0.

Emeka doubled the margin just after six minutes, converting a penalty kick, 2-0.

Saif SC defender Rahmat Mia fouled Abahani defender Saad Uddin in the danger zone and referee Mizanur Rahman awarded the penalty to Abahani.

Saif SC returned to the game and established their dominance after 45 minutes. They saw success through their defender Topu Barman who reduced the gap in the stopgap time of the first half by a header from the box, 2-1.

Captain Jamal Bhuiyan took a free kick from right flank that was headed by a Saif SC midfielder to connect Topu Barman who utilised the opportunity.

Abahani dominated the first half by 2-1 goals.

Saif SC’s substitute midfielder Jewel Rana leveled the margin in the 49th minute by a header from the box utilising a low cross of forward Rahim Uddin from right flank, 2-2.

Defender Nasir Uddin Chowdhury pulled up Abahani’s victory scoring in the 84th minute by a header from the box, 3-2.

Abahani’s defender Rayhan Hasan took a throw from right side and Saif SC’s defender Rahmat Mia tried to clear the ball by a backheader which fell on to Nasir’s head to fire the net.

Earlier, Abahani missed a chance in the 42nd minute as their midfielder Sohel Rana’s right-footed close range attempt from the right side rolled out edging the left post after a free kick pass of defender Nasir Uddin Chowdhury.

Abahani’s captain-cum-goalkeeper Shahidul Alam saved his side in the 18th minute fisting the ball which was a powerful straight shot attempt of Saif SC’s Colombian forward Hember Arley Lordaba Escarpeta from the middle of the box.

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