Oldham Athletic received a hostile welcome when the youth side of the English club lost their first exhibition match to Mohammedan Sporting Club yesterday.
Nigerian forwards Mwach Ukwu Paul and Emeka Christina struck first half goals in the home side's 2-1 victory at the Bangabandhu National Stadium as the visitors wilted under scorching heat.
Matt Barlow scored a consolation goal for the Latics, who were forced to make nine changes at the break and looked better under lights.
A few thousand crowds, however, enjoyed a lively start by the black and whites who went ahead after 20 minutes.
Paul and Emeka dictated the terms early and their hard work paid off after Zahid initiated the move at the right flank. Taking the ball from the midfielder, Paul got inside the box but his shot came off a forest of legs and Emeka made no mistake to drill the ball into the bottom corner.
Six minutes later, Emeka forced a fine save by Ryan Smith, the goalkeeper who has already played for the senior side in the Coca Cola League 1.
Playing 4-3-3, the Oldham struggled for control in the middle but Adam Edwards threatened to score on the half hour, only to be denied by Nigerian Peter Odafe's brilliant tackle inside the box.
Mohammedan doubled the lead ten minutes from the break with Paul's clinical finish after a through ball by Mithu. Paul, the top-scorer of the ongoing B. League who has scored a double hattrick this season, got behind a defender at the left side and exquisitely placed a left-footer into the far post from a tight angle.
It should have been 3-0 but Emeka, who broke an offside trap with Paul's pass, saw Smith palm away his shot from one-on-one.
In the last five minutes, Oldham made desperate attempts for a comeback but Barlow hit the base of the sidebar after going round rival goalkeeper Himel, who held Ashley Kelly's weak header in the injury time.
The half time came as a relief for the tired booters and only Barlow and Ross Thaker returned when the game resumed. The fresh legs pushed hard and it took Latics three minutes to reduce the arrears through Barlow, who sidefooted home from the edge of the six-yard box after meeting a low cross by Deane Smalley from the right.
With the boys in blue having the edge, Smalley fluffed a series of attempts on the hour as Oldham's chances to equalise evaporated. The tall forward was set up by Kallum Higginbotham after a flowing counter attack by Edwards but the first shot went straight to Himel. Smalley hit the rebound once again to the keeper from point-blank range and the third time, his cross was defended by the backline.
Ten minutes later, Higgin-botham invaded the penalty area with a ball from Owen but Himel rushed out of his line to dispossess the striker.
Mohammedan regained control in the dying minutes and after a few long-range efforts went off target, Mithu caught substitute keeper Josh bell napping with a 25-yard volley that came off the crossbar just before the final whistle.
"It was a good game and both sides wasted chances. Mohammedan played well and I have to admit that my boys were really undone by the conditions,"
said coach Tony Philliskirk.
"It was too hot and humid and the players were tired after a long trip. We know what to do and hope to settle it by our next match,"
the Latics coach hoped.
The team will visit BKSP today for promotional works with local players and coaches before travelling to Sylhet where they play their second friendly, against Bangladesh Under-23s, on May 12. Oldham will return to Dhaka to round of their trip with a match against Abahani on May 12.
Source: The Daily Star Dhaka.