Kings survive R'ganj scare
Goalkeeper Anisur Rahman Zico's heroic performance in shootout after Costa Rican Daniel Colindres' shining display in Walton Independence Cup helped Bashundhara Kings edge a spirited Rahmatganj MFS 3-2 in tiebreak in the fourth quarterfinal at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
The win took newcomers Bashundhara Kings to the semifinals where they will take on Federation Cup champions Abahani on December 20 after Sheikh Russel KC and Brothers Union play the first semifinal on December 19.
Zico, an under-23 national team goalkeeper who never stopped a single shot from the spot in his premier league career since making debut in 2015, showed nerves of steel between the sticks to stop three shots from three foreigners -- Congolese Siyo Zunapio and Nigerians Damian Chigozie and Monday Osagie – in the shootout to give big-spenders Bashundhara Kings an incredible win they twice came back to hold the minnows 2-2 in regulation and extra time.
Colindres, carrying an ankle injury, came off the bench in 57th minute to level the margin first and then set up the second goal to push the match into the extra-time and tiebreaker after Federation Cup runners-up Bashundhara Kings had started without their seven of their regular players, who were out either through injury or were suspended.
However, it was frustrating for Bashundhara Kings as their local players failed to make an impact despite the side enjoying superior ball possession and had more shots on target. Jamal Hossain gave Rahmatganj the lead in the 25th minute by turning in a cutback from Enamul Islam.
Bashundhara Kings coacg Oscar Bruzon sent on Colindres and the Costa Rican levelled the margin 10 minutes later with a fantastic curving shot from inside the box, but Rahmatganj restored the lead within five minutes by availing a defensive fumble from Didarul Alam, who allowed Faisal Ahmed inside the box and the winger found the back of the net with an over-head chip.
Bruzon made two more changes, sending in Hemanta Vincent Biswas and veteran Rokonuzzaman Kanchan but they hardly made an impact before Colindres made the difference again in the final minute of five minutes of added time. The prolific playmaker whipped in a cross from the left and Kyrgyz forward Bakhtiyar Duyshobekov levelled the margin with a glancing header.
In extra-time, it was Rahmatganj who came close to regaining the lead twice but Zunapio, who scored two goals in the previous match, squandered both chances.
“Colindres made the difference in the match before Zico. We had a conversation with Zico and wanted him to be the hero of the night. He really played well and his confidence under the bar really made the difference,” said Bruzon, who termed the victory a special one due to the unavailability of seven players.