Six-time BPL champions Dhaka Abahani Limited continued their fairytale performance in the AFC Cup beating April 25 SC (4.25) of North Korea by 4-3 goals in the first leg home match of the inter-zonal semifinal at Bangabandhu National Stadium here on Wednesday evening.
The popular Dhanmomdi-outfit and the Bangladesh champions, Abahani Limited, repeated the feat 31 years after another Bangladesh team Dhaka Mohammedan SC beat April 25 SC by 1-0 goal in the first leg match of the Asian Club Championship in 1988-89 season.
Nigerian forward Sunday Chizoba scored twice, midfielder Sohel Rana and country’s promising forward Mohammad Nabib Newaz Ziban netted one goal each for the sky-blue outfit while defender Choe Jong-Hyok, forward Rim Chol Min and defender Pak Song-Rok netted one goal each for April 25 SC.
From the beginning of the match, both sides created some good chances with their attacking brand of football but failed to score.
In the 4th minute, a right-footed shot of forward Saad Uddin of Abahani missed the target while defender Mamun Miah also missed another close chance in the 11th minute for Abahani.
Defender Choe Jong-Hyok of April 25 SC came close to scoring in the 8th minute but spilled the chance.
In the 33rd minute, Dhaka Abahani broke the deadlock as Sohel Rana opened the account with a left-footed shot from outside the box, utilizing a pass of Mohammad Nabib Newaz Ziban (1-0).
But within two minutes, the touring side equalized as their Choe Jong-Hyok scored the goal with a right-footed shot from outside the box, capitalizing on a pass from his compatriot O Hyok Chol (1-1).
But Dhaka Abahani put strong pressure on the visitors with their attacking brand of football.
In the 37th minute, the country’s national colored booter Nabib Newaz Ziban scored the 2nd goal for Abahani Limited, and his third of the competition, off a pass from veteran defender Waly Faisal (2-1).
After the first half, April 25 SC came alive and started to dominate over the hosts.
In the 54th minute, Rim Chol Min again leveled the margin for the Korean side by a left-footed shot utilizing a pass from substitute forward An Il-Bom (2-2).
Hosts Abahani carried their domination and got quick success as their Nigerian forward Sunday Chizoba netted twice in a span of only four minutes.
In the 57th minute, the Nigerian forward scored his 3rd goal in the tournament utilizing a pass from defender Tutul Hossain Badsha (3-2) and fourth goal in the 61st minute, off a Kervens Belfort pass (4-2).
But, April 25 SC got relief while Pak Song Rok scored the third goal by a good header from the center of the box, off a corner from midfielder O Hyok Cholin the 77th minute (4-3).
North Korea League champions 4.25 SC missed two chances to level the margin but forward An Il-Bom missed the target in the 87th and 92nd minutes respectively.
Sohel Rana of Abahani was cautioned for a rough charge.
Dhaka Abahani Ltd will face April 25 SC in their away match on August 28 at the Kim-ll-Sung Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea.
The Bangladesh side just need a draw in their away match to enter the inter-zonal playoff finals for the first time.
Earlier, BPL champions Abahani sealed their place in the knockout phase for the first time as the champions of four-team Group E securing 13 points from 6 matches with four wins, one draw and one defeat.
On the other hand, DPR Korea League champions April 25 SC reached the knockout phase of the AFC Cup for the third time as Group I champions securing 15 points from 6 matches with five wins and one defeat.
Dhaka Abahani: Shahidul Alam Sohel, Raihan Hasan, Nabib Newaz Ziban, Waly Faisal, Sunday Chizoba, Kervens Belfort/Jewel Rana (90), Sohel Rana, Tutul Hossain Badsha, Mamun Miah, Saad Uddin, Lee Taemin.
April 25 SC: Pak Jin Myong, Kwon Chung Hyok, O Hyok Chol, Om Chol Song/ An Il-Bom (45), Rim Chol Min/ Kim Yu Song (75), Son Phyong Il, An tae Song, Choe Jong Hyok, Pak Song Rok, An Song Il, Choe Chol Su.