Draw keeps Sheikh Jamal waiting
Bangladesh Premier League champions Sheikh Jamal DC stayed on course for a semifinal berth in the King's Cup despite being held to a goalless draw by Thai Premier League outfit Nakhon Ratchasima FC in their second Group A match at the Changlimithang Stadium in Thimphu yesterday.
A win would have seen Sheikh Jamal through, but a draw still leaves them with a good chance, as both Jamal and Nakhon lead the group table with four points with a match in hand. The groups other two teams, Mohun Bagan and Druk United FC, have one point each having played one and three matches respectively. As things stand, Sheikh Jamal will need only a draw in their last group match against Mohun Bagan on November 27 to qualify for the last four.
After an eight-day gap since their 3-0 win over Druk United, Sheikh Jamal took the field in the same vein and dictated terms, with greater ball possession and number of attacks. According to the official facebook page of the tournament, the Sheikh Jamal forwards -- Wedson Anselme and Vaniel Sirin -- left the Nakhong defence in tatters and created two scoring chances in the first ten minutes, but the brilliance of the Thai goalkeeper frustrated the Dhanmondi giants. Nakhon, who routed Druk FC 5-0 in their opening match, also created a few chances of their own, especially towards the end of the first half, but failed to capitalise on those chances.
Sheikh Jamal coach Maruful Haque made two late substitutions, throwing in winger Rubel Miah in place of Sirin and striker Emmanuel Onyedikachi in place of Darboe, but none of those substitutions made an impact as both teams had to be content with a single point.
Meanwhile, Indian League outfit Pune FC qualified became the first team to book a semifinal berth after getting their third straight win in Group B yesterday.