HOSTS CHITTAGONG ABAHANI got a winning start to their Sheikh Kamal International Cup 2019 campaign, getting a decisive 4-1 victory over defending champions TC Sports Club.
The Dhivehi Premier League club from Maldives, playing in front of a crowd of 22,311 vehemently supporting the home club from Chittagong, Bangladesh, never seemed to catch on to the game, looking a shell of their former selves having brought over just one foreigner with their squad.
Chittagong Abahani got an early lead through Matthew Chinedu just 8 minutes in. A couple of minutes later, Yeasin Arafat scored a world class goal from a tight angle with a curly floater that got the better of the TC Sports keeper. Chinedu scored his second just before half-time and Yugoslavian forward Luka Rotkovic scored their fourth goal in the 70th minute.
TC Sports got their solitary goal via Ismail Easa, a Maldives international who plays as an attacking midfielder.
You can watch the entire match right here, courtesy the Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup Facebook page...
This match opened the bi-annual tournament's third edition. It was a Group A encounter, and the hosts Chittagong Abahani got a head start in the race to semi-finals taking 3 crucial points from their first match.
Mohun Bagan are also a part of this group. They will begin their campaign tomorrow, taking on Young Elephant FC (6:30 pm IST), a top division club from Laos. On 22nd, Mohun Bagan will face TC Sports (3:30 pm IST) in their second group match. They will face hosts Chittagong Abhani on 24th October (6:30 pm IST); the last match in Group A; expected to be a star attraction in the tournament.
Other than the Mariners, this tournament also features two other Indian clubs. Reigning I-League champions Chennai City and Durand Cup winners Gokulam Kerala FC.
On 21st October both these clubs will be in action. Chennai City will face Malaysia Super League club Terengganu FC (3:30 pm IST), and Gokulam Kerala FC will take on Bangladesh Premier League champions Basundhara Kings (6:30 pm IST).
On 23rd October, another showpiece match of this tournament will take place when Chennai City FC will take on Basundhara Kings (3:30 pm IST); a match between the Champions of India and the Champions of Bangladesh. Adding more spice to this contest is the possibility of these two clubs facing off again in AFC Cup 2020 group stage.
On the same day, Gokulam Kerala FC will face Terengganu FC (6:30 pm IST). On the 25th, the two I-League clubs Gokulam Kerala FC and Chennai City FC face off with each other (3:30 pm IST).
The top two clubs from each group will progress to the semi-finals which will be held on 27th and 28th October. The grand finale will take place on 30th October. All three games will kick off at 6:30 pm IST.
All matches are being held at the M. A. Aziz Stadium in Chittagong, as is the tradition of this AFC-recognized international tournament.