Robson proving to be the difference-maker
When Bashundhara Kings roped in Brazil's Robson Da Silva, popularly known as Robinho, on loan from top-tier Fluminense FC, the Bangladesh Premier League champions had his marauding runs down the left flank in mind and hopes their Argentine talisman Hernan Barcos could capitalise on Robson's flawless crosses and decisive passes in the AFC Cup.
However, Barcos left Bashundhara Kings after the expiration of his contract, having played only one match in the abandoned 2020 AFC Cup. He made an undeniable statement in that game, the former Argentine international netting four times in an overwhelming 5-1 win over TC Sports Club in Dhaka.
And while Robson was denied the opportunity to pair up with Barcos in the AFC Cup or domestic competitions, he found a partner in another Argentine, Raul Becerra, and has become the most lethal striker in the league with 19 goals from 20 matches.
The 26-year-old also effectively translated his rich scoring form to the AFC Cup to give Bashundhara Kings a winning start and prove that he was as important as Barcos had proved in the 2020 campaign.
Robson also has a splendid ability with the ball at his feet and he has easily danced past three or four players many times in domestic matches before finding the back of the opponent net or feeding the ball to others. He is undeniably dangerous in the opposition's box, but the top-left corner of the box seems to be his favourite striking position, as a number of his 19 goals came from that spot during league matches.
So when the Brazilian received the ball in his favourite position in the 10th minute against Maziya S&RC in an AFC Cup match on Wednesday, the Kings held their breath in anticipation. But frustratingly, Robson drove straight into the hands of the Maziya goalkeeper at the near post as he attempted his trademark curler into the top right corner.
Having survived the initial pressure from Maziya S&RC, Robson grew into the game and began to penetrate, but it was not until the 39th minute that he truly made amends, striking a stunning goal from a bullet-like drive that blazed in at the near post with the goalkeeper motionless.
Despite being the hero of the match, Robson was polite in giving credit to his teammates and management.
"Since I've been with Bashundhara, my confidence has increased. I feel the support of the staff and my teammates as well as the management. I know I need to be one of the players pushing and making plays that make the difference," Robson was quoted as saying on the Asian Football Confederation website after the match.
"The main thing compared to our league was the intensity. It was a high-intensity game. I want to praise the team. All of them were very confident with the plan as we analysed them in detail and we knew that if we stuck to the plan, we would get some points."