Despite the absence of a couple of key players, Bangladesh Premier League champions Abahani overcame a late onslaught from visitors April 25 SC of North Korea in the first leg playoff of AFC Cup’s inter-zone semifinal to win 4-3 at the Bangabandhu National Stadium today.
Sohel Rana drew first blood for Abahani with his opener in the 33rd minute before Jong Hyok Choe equalised for the hosts just two minutes later with an identical strike. Nabib Newaj Jibon handed the lead back to Abahani in the 37th minute as the first half finished 2-1 to the hosts.
Rim-Chol min brought parity with his strike in the 54th minute but Sunday Chizoba’s double strike in the 57th and the 61st minute doubled the lead for the hosts. The North Koreans kept pressuring and the late onslaught saw them back in the game with the 77th minute strike from Song-Rok Pak. Abahani held on for a crucial win in the dying minutes as a header ricocheted off the post in the final moments.