Unbeaten Bashundhara Kings crossed seemingly the last hurdle of the first phase to consolidate their lead in Bangladesh Premier League following a 3-2 win against Saif SC at the Sheikh Kamal Stadium in Nilphamari yesterday.
The 10th win in 11 matches means title aspirants Bashundhara Kings have now 31 points went four points, four clear of second-placed Abahani and seven ahead of third-placed Sheikh Russel KC, who notched up a 2-0 win over Rahmatganj MFS at Bangabandhu National Stadium in the other match of the day.
The win over Saif SC also ensured Bashundhara a top-place finish in the first leg with a match in hand against Chittagong Abahani. The win also kept the newcomers' hundred percent success rate on home ground, breaking Saif SC's unbeaten record in away matches.
Even though Bashundhara Kings fielded a full-strength side for the first time with the inclusion of all four foreign players, they were stunned by the visiting Saif SC in the very third minute when Colombian striker Deiner Cordoba found the back of the net with a side-volley on a corner from Sajjad Hossain.
Bashundhara Kings then pressed hard for the equaliser, which finally came in the 32nd minute, thanks to a fine strike from Marcos Vinicius, who chested down a lob from Emon Babu before hammering a left-footer at the far post. 10 minutes later, Daniel Colindres gave the home side the lead, capitalising on a fumble from the Saif SC defenders as the Costa Rican forward headed into the open net from close range.
Bashundara Kings took the game away from their opposition in the stoppage time of the first half when Bakhtiyar Duyshobekov drove home availing a poor clearance after Matin Mia darted into the box from the right to take a low shot.
Saif SC pulled one goal back in the 56th minute when Riadul Hossain Rafi headed in a lob from Jamal Bhuiyan, but the visitors could not find the equalising goal as they remained on 20 points following a third defeat in 11 matches.
At the BNS, Sheikh Russel, who came into the match on the back of a goalless draw against Muktjoddha Sangsad, took only four minutes to take the lead against Rahmatganj MFS as Sohel Rana tapped in from close range after a Raphael Odoyin header came his way. Odoyin doubled the lead in the 17th minute, driving home a forward-pass from Azizov Alisher. After resumption, Rahmatganj created a few chances but failed to cash in on those and left the field with their fourth defeat in 11 matches.