Kings eliminated from AFC Cup
Bashundhara Kings failed to progress to the knockout phase of the AFC Cup despite a 2-1 win against Gokulam Kerala of India in their last group match at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Tuesday.
After the win against Kerala, the Bangladesh champions gathered six points from three games and had their eyes on the group stage's last game between ATK Mohun Bagan and Maziya S&RC.
Anything less than a win for Mohun Bagan would have seen Kings progress but ultimately Mohun Bagan thumped Maziya 5-2, which meant that, despite having equal six points, Mohun Bagan edged past Kings to the top of table and through to zonal semifinals based on a superior head-to-head record.
Earlier in the day, Robson Robinho scored the opening goal for Kings in the 36th minute before Nuha Marong doubled their advantage nine minutes after restart. Jourdaine Fletcher pulled one back for Gokulam Kerala in the 75th minute but Kings held on to their slender lead for a richly deserved victory.
The Bangladesh Premier League champions, who started their campaign with a 1-0 win over Maziya S&RC before suffering a 4-0 thrashing by ATK Mohun Bagan, have six points from three matches while I-League champions Gokulam Kerala ended with three points.
An established, modern powerhouse of Bangladesh club football, Kings could not enter the knock-out phase in their last AFC Cup campaign, despite having remained unbeaten, during which the Oscar Bruzon's side were denied by Mohun Bagan as well.
The wait, thus, continues for Kings in order to be the second Bangladeshi outfit after Abahani (in 2019) to progress through the group stage of the prestigious tournament.