UNB NEWS : 28 NOVEMBER, 2023, 1:02 AM
Coming from behind again, Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) champions Bashundhra Kings came close to the AFC Cup Inter Zone play-off semifinals, beating the Maldives champions Maziya Sports and Recreation Club by 2-1 goals in a vital Group D match at the floodlight Bashundhara Kings Arena in the capital on Monday evening.
It was the fourth time that Bashundhara Kings bounced back in the match, coming from behind.
With the day’s well merited victory, the Kings not only maintained their top slot in Group D intact, but also took sweet revenge of their 1-3 goals defeat against Maziya SRC in a away match in Male last month.
Moreover, the Bashundhara Kings also maintained their unbeaten record in the home ground — Bashundhara Kings Arena — in all the local and international football.
After the day’s match, Bashundhara Kings topped the Group D list, securing ten points from five matches with three winnings, a draw and a defeat. Kolkata Mohun Bagan Club followed the leaders with seven points from four matches, while Maziya SRC are in the bottom with three points from five matches.
Bashundhara Kings played the day’s vital match without their regular captain, cum most reliable Brazilian forward Robson Robinho and Ivorian booter Didier Brossou for injuries.
Midfielder Regan Obeng put Maziya SRC ahead in the 10th minute by an straight shot from a vantage position of danger zone, utilizing a misunderstanding between Kings defender Tariq Kazi and custodian Srabon (1-0). This was the quickest goal conceded by the Kings in the international match.
When the match was almost heading for the Kings defeat, then Medio Asror Gafurov levelled the margin for the Kings in the 80th minute by a low header from goal mouth melee, off a corner kick (1-1).
Brazilian Midfielder Miguel Figueira scored the match-winning goal for the Kings in the 88th minute by a brilliant shot from about 30 yards, outside from the danger zone, off a Shekh Morsalin cross, that kissed the Maziya net over the custodian (2-1).
Earlier, forward Mfon Sunday Udoh spoiled the most easiest opportunity in the 42nd minute, as he missed two repeated chances – one after another.
Forwards Shekh Morsalin and Rafiqul Islam entered the field in the 69th minute, replacing Rakib Hossain, and Sheikh Morsalin got an golden opportunity in the 77th minute, but his weak shot from close was saved by the opponent goalkeeper.
Bashundhara Kings, which were placed in the four-team Group D of the AFC Cup with Odisha FC and Mohun Bagan Club of India, and Maziya SRC of the Maldives, already played five matches.
Bangladesh champions Bashundhara Kings, which made a frustrating with 1-3 goals defeat against Maziya SRC, smartly bounced back in the race, beating Odisha FC by 3-2 goals in their home match in Dhaka.
The Kings played a 2-2 draw with Indian giant Mohun Bagan Club in their away match in Odisha last month and made a history with their first- ever victory against Kolkata Mohun Bagan Club, beating them by 2-1 goals in the home match in Dhaka this month, apart from day’s victory.
The Kings will play their next match, an away match, with Odisha FC of India on December 11 at 8 pm Bangladesh time at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, and an win will confirm their first ever AFC Cup inter-zone play-off semifinal berth.
Each of the four Group D teams of the AFC Cup 2023-24, a 2nd-Tier Asian Continental Club Football Competition after the AFC Champions League, are playing each other in six home-and-away round-robin format.
Later, the table toppers will progress to the AFC Cup inter-zone play-off semi-finals.