Big-spenders Bashundhara Kings were held to a 1-1 draw by three-time champions Sheikh Jamal DC as Group D of the Walton Federation Cup, dubbed the group of death, lived up to its name.
The two giants played an entertaining draw in their second match of the campaign and, with Mohammedan Sporting Club winning against NoFeL Sporting Club earlier in the day, qualification from this group has turned into a three-horse race.
Bashundhara Kings and Sheikh Jamal are on top with four points apiece, even though the former are ahead on goal difference, while Mohammedan -- who beat NoFeL 2-0 with both goals coming from Kingsley Chigozie, are very much in the hunt with three points.
The big match of the day got off to a bursting start as the Bashundhara Kings, the winners of last season's Championship League, took the lead when Brazilian forward Marcos Vinicius swept in from inside the box, with the ball hitting the crossbar on the way in, after Daniel Colindres's pass was cut back to the Brazilian by Baktiyar Duishobekov.
However, it took former champions Sheikh Jamal only four minutes to equalise as Gambian striker Solomon King Kanform unleashed a piledriver of a shot from the edge of the box, giving no chance to Kings' goalkeeper Anisur Rahman Zico at the far post.
After an initial spell of domination from the Kings, Sheikh Jamal took control of the match and it was only due to Zico's heroics -- the young goalkeeper made two point-blank saves, first in the 45th minute against Sainey Bojang and seven minutes after the break against Solomon King -- that the big-spenders stayed in the game.
The Dhanmondi giants, however, had a bit of luck too when Colindres's shot from 30 yards took an awkward bounce in front of goal and beat the goalie, only to come off the crossbar in the 58th minute before Solomon wasted the easiest opportunity a minute later by trying a weak pass to a fellow forward when all he needed to do was chip it over Zico, who was trying desperately to close the Gambian forward down.
Both teams had their fare share of chances, but Sheikh Jamal would feel that they could have left the field with a victory against the star-studded Kings had it not been for those missed opportunities.