DHAKA, A lone goal from Afghan defender Masih Saighani steered Dhaka Abahani Limited to register a solitary goal victory over Nepal's league champions Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) in their crucial opening group E match of the AFC Cup 2019 held today (Wednesday) ANFA Complex Ground in Kathmandu, Nepal.
In the day's match, Abahani took the deserving lead in the 27th minute of the match when Masih Saighani sent he ball home with a superb header from the close range following a corner kick in the 27th minute.
After the lemon break, Abahani were more organized and launched series of attacks but failed to increase the lead. MMC also got several scoring chances but failed to convert those into a goal lack of proper finishing.
The Professional League Champions Abahani Limited have not been able to cross the firstround hurdle in their previous two attempts in the AFC Cup and five attempts in the nowdefunct AFC President's Cup. The other two teams in their group are two Indian outfits � twotime Indian Super League champions Chennaiyin FC and former ILeague champions Minerva Punjab.
Only the group winners from Group E will advance to the next stage, the interzonal playoff semifinals.
The Dhaka giant will then play their second group home match against Minera Punjab on April 17 at Bangabandhu National Stadium (BNS) before playing their third group away match against Chennaiyin FC on April 30 at The Arena, Ahmedabad.
The sky blue Dhanmondi 'outfit' again face against Chennaiyin and Manang Marshyangdi Club in the home matches on May 15 and June 17 at BNS before playing their last group away match against Minerva Punjab on June 26 at Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar.
Dhaka Abahani First XI: Sahidul Alam(GK, captain), Rayhan, Waly, Badsha, Sohel Rana, Wellington; Ziban, Sunday, Rubel, Masih and Belfort.
MMC First XI: Bishal Shrestha(GK); Biraj Maharjan(captain), Muhammed Asif, Kamal Shrestha, Devendra Tamang;Bishal Rai, Heman Gurung, Sujal Shrestha, Anjan Bista, Somide Oluwawunmi and Afeez Olawale.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)