Brazilian duo powers Kings
Following a disappointing AFC Cup campaign, defending champions Bashundhara Kings perfectly resumed their Bangladesh Premier League season as they handed a 2-0 defeat to 10-man Rahmatganj MFS at the Birshreshtha Shaheed Matiur Rahman Stadium in Munshiganj yesterday.
Before the resumption of the league after a five-week break, Kings' Spanish coach Oscar Bruzon was a bit anxious of the state of Rajshahi pitch amid the rainy conditions. However, there was no rain yesterday and Kings' Brazilian forward duo -- Robson Da Silva and Miguel Figueira -- struck one goal apiece under dazzling light. The game also saw the referee give Rahmatganj goalkeeper Ziaur Rahman a marching order for intercepting a Nuha Marong lob from outside the box in the 33rd minute.
Rahmatganj, who suffered a 3-2 defeat in the first leg, could hold their mighty opponents Kings after being a player down. And King did not waste time to grab the opportunity with both hands as they struck two goals within two minutes after the incident.
Substitute goalkeeper Rakibul Hasan Tushar first watched Brazilian Miguel find the near post from a free-kick outside the box and two minutes later, Robson struck his league's 12th goal to make it 2-0. The inspirational Kings forward drove home from inside the box with a low right-footer after right-back Rimon Hossain whipped a low cross.
Kings could not widen the margin in the second half but the result meant they had extended their winning streak to five. With 41 points from 16 matches, Kings sit pretty at the top and nine points ahead of nearest rivals Abahani, who will face their archrivals Mohammedan SC in Cumilla today.
At Bashundhara Kings Arena, struggling Sheikh Russel KC pulled off a surprising 3-1 win over Sheikh Jamal DC, who under the supervision of Joseph Afusi suffered their second defeat in five matches.
With the second defeat in 16 matches, Sheikh Jamal are 11 points behind leaders Kings while big-spending Sheikh Russel notched up their fourth win to raise their point tally to 19 from 16 matches.
Sheikh Russel took the lead in the 20th minute when out-of-favour national player Hemanta Vincent Biswas drove a low shot home from close range after Nigerian forward Ismaheel Akinade released a low cross from the left wing. And three minutes before half time, Jonov Otabek levelled the margin with a curler.
Sheikh Russel were quick to respond as they restored the lead one minute into the first half stoppage time when Charles Didier slotted a left-footer home, availing an assist from Hemnata from the left flank. Former champions Sheikh Russel sealed off the match three minutes from time when substitute forward Mannaf Rabbi ran down the left flank and cut inside around the box to deliver a brilliant shot into the far post's top corner.