Muktijoddha oust Uttar Baridhara
Three former champions – Mohammedan SC, Sheikh Russel KC and Muktijoddha Sangsad -- kept their Federation Cup’s quarterfinal hopes alive after two rounds of matches of Group D at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
10-time champions Mohammedan played out a goalless draw against 2012 champions Sheikh Russel KC after three-time champions Muktijoddha Sangsad came from behind to beat Uttar Baridhara 2-1 in the day’s first match.
Muktijoddha Sangsad are on top of the four-team table with four points, ahead on better goal-difference of Sheikh Russel, who have four points too. Mohammedan have two points from two matches while Uttar Baridhara are yet to open their account.
Mohammedan continued their pressing football from their previous match against Muktijoddha Sangsad and cornered Sheikh Russel in the first half, but the latter came out strongly to dominate in the second half.
Both of sides created a couple of goal-scoring chances, but neither could find the back of the net, thanks to some brave performances from Sheikh Russel goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana his Mohammedan counterpart Sujan Hossain.
“We are not happy with a draw because a win would have taken us to the quarterfinals,” Sheikh Russel’s assistant coach Masud Parvez Kaiser said. “Mohammedan were the better side in the first half as they did not allow us to build the game by packing the defence and midfield.”
“Anyone could have won the match. The boys played better than the previous match as they were good in the attacking third even though we could not score a goal. I’m happy with the result and looking forward to the next match to qualify for the quarterfinals,” was the impression of Mohammedan coach Sean Lane.
Mohammedan will take on Uttar Baridhara Club while Muktijoddha Sangsad will square up against Sheikh Russel on December 28 to decide the group.
Earlier, Muktijoddha Sangsad kept last-8 chances alive with a 2-1 win against Uttar Baridhara Club, who were ousted from the group stage with two successive defeats.
Three-time champions Muktijoddha Sangsad, who came into the match on the back of a 1-1 draw against Mohammedan, faced tough challenge from promoted the start and conceded the lead in the 40th minute. with Landing Darboe coolly placing home from inside the box after Arif Hossain had brought down a cross from Noyan Mia.
However, the lead lasted only seven minutes as Guinean forward Ismail Bangoura drove a well-judged cross from substitute Sarwar Zaman Nipu into the back of the net two minutes into stoppage time of the first half.
After resumption, Muktijoddha Sangsad pressed for the lead and Norito Hashiguchi came close to scoring. However, the Japanese midfielder, after being set up by Bangoura, hit the ball straight at goalkeeper Azad Hossain.
The Japanese player made amends by scoring a brilliant goal in the 73rd minute as he collected a through-pass from Mehdi Hasan and ran into the box before smashing a powerful low shot to the near post, giving the Baridhara goalkeeper no chance to react.