Mohammedan Sporting Club Ends Fourteen-Year Title Drought with Federation Cup Triumph
In an exhilarating showdown on Tuesday at Shaheed Dhirendranath Datta Stadium in Cumilla, Mohammedan Sporting Club achieved a remarkable victory in the Federation Cup Football tournament, finally breaking the jinx that had plagued them for fourteen long years. Their arch-rivals, Abahani Limited, put up a valiant fight, but Mohammedan emerged triumphant, clinching the title with a 4-2 victory in a thrilling penalty shootout.
The match was a rollercoaster of emotions, with the regulation and extra time ending in a nail-biting 4-4 draw. The tension escalated as the match progressed to a tiebreaker. Mohammedan showcased nerves of steel, with their substitute goalkeeper, Bipu, making two crucial saves, while Abahani faltered, missing two of their first four shots. Ultimately, it was Mohammedan’s unwavering determination that secured their long-awaited victory.
Leading the charge for Mohammedan was their captain, Souleymane Diabate, who delivered a stellar performance and led his team from the front. Diabate’s timely hat-trick played a pivotal role in Mohammedan’s success, finally ending their title drought since their Independence Cup triumph in 2014.
Mohammedan’s victory in this year’s Federation Cup marks their first championship win in the tournament since its inception in 1980. Notably, they share the honor of being joint champions with Brothers Union in the inaugural season. However, today’s win holds a special place in history, thanks to the foreign player, Diabate, who etched his name in the record books. His remarkable feat of scoring four goals in the Federation Cup final sets a rare record in this prestigious 43-year-old tournament.
The highly anticipated final drew the attention of football fans, particularly those who remember the golden days of the intense Mohammedan-Abahani rivalry. Football enthusiasts flocked to Cumilla to witness this long-awaited grudge match and savor the excitement.
Abahani started the match with a strong attacking approach, gaining a significant advantage by securing a 2-0 lead by halftime. Faisal Ahmed Fahim, a promising young forward, opened the scoring for Abahani Limited in the 16th minute with a left-footed shot, capitalizing on a well-placed pass from Emeka. Mohammedan’s hopes of staging a comeback were further dampened when Daniel Colindres, Abahani’s Costa Rican forward, unleashed a powerful shot in the 44th minute, extending Abahani’s lead.
However, the second half witnessed a dramatic turnaround as Mohammedan’s Souleymane Diabate displayed his brilliance, netting two goals within four minutes. Diabate’s first goal, a well-placed shot in the 56th minute, left Abahani’s goalkeeper, Shahidul Alam Sohel, with no chance to save. Energized by his performance, Diabate leveled the scoreline in the 60th minute, igniting the spirits of the jubilant crowd.
Abahani swiftly regained the lead when Nigerian forward Emeka Ogbugh scored their third goal in the 65th minute. Nevertheless, Mohammedan refused to be defeated, equalizing once again in the 83rd minute as Diabate completed his hat-trick with an exceptional header from a corner on the left flank. With the regulation time ending in a 3-3 draw, the match proceeded to extra time.
During the first half of extra time, Mohammedan seized the opportunity to take the lead. Diabate was instrumental once more as he won a penalty kick after being fouled by Abahani’s goalkeeper in the danger zone