Big-spenders Bashundhara Kings moved into the last eight of the Walton Independence Cup after playing out a goalless draw against Sheikh Russel KC in their Group D encounter at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
In the day's first match, Muktijoddha Sangsad came from a goal down to hold Brothers Union to a 1-1 draw to keep their quarterfinal hopes alive, but the outcome of the Group C fixture helped Abahani to qualify for the last eight with a game left against Brothers Union.
Muktijoddha Sangsad came into the match on the back of a 2-1 defeat to Abahani and improved their performance against Brothers Union despite conceding the lead in the eighth minute.
Brazilian forward Vieira Lima Leonardo put the All Oranges ahead capitalising on a pass from Jack Daniels of Panama before Sujan Biswas cancelled out the lead from a counter-attack in the 24th minute.
Meanwhile, the match between Bashundhara Kings and Sheikh Russel was almost a replay of the Federation Cup semifinal except for the winner in that match which was scored by substitute striker Towhidul Alam Sabuz in the 118th minute.
Sabuz was not in the team due to his six-match suspension and Costa Rican Daniel Colindres also could not find the net as the newcomers had to be content with a draw.
Bashundara Kings dominated the first half to create a few chances but those efforts were not good enough to break the tight defence of Sheikh Russel, who were seemingly happy to play on the break. From counter-attacks, Sheikh Russel looked dangerous in the second half as defender Bishwanath Ghosh, winger Biplo Ahmed and forward Raphael Odoyin sent chill down Bashundhara spine with their efforts from inside and outside the box.
However, neither side could break the deadlock despite sending a couple of fresh legs in the latter part of the match, but both coaches were happy with the outcome.
“I'm happy with the performance because we played against a team who held back and tried to counter-attack. This draw is good for us because we qualified for the quarterfinals, which was our initial objective,” said Bashundhara Kings coach Oscar Bruzon.
“The forwards were not sharp but the team played an intelligent game as some of our players have been suffering from injuries and two of our players are suspended,” said Bruzon.
“Compared to the Federation Cup semifinal, we played better today with the forwards holding the ball in the attacking third and mustering the shots on target but we have a problem in scoring,” said Sheikh Russel coach Saiful Bari Titu