Argentine striker Raul Oscar Becerra's goal-spree continued as reigning champions Bashundhara Kings got off to a winning start in the Bangladesh Premier League with an easy 2-0 win over Uttar Baridhara Club at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
Becerra, who scored in all five matches as Kings lifted the season's curtain-raising Federation Cup, struck his first goal in the professional football league in Kings' opener before Mohammad Ibrahim sealed the win in the second half against a team that last season had held them till the 86th minute before going down 1-0 in Nilphamari.
Baridhara, who stunned everyone by advancing to the quarterfinals of the Federation Cup before being eliminated at the hands of Abahani in extra-time, hardly showed last season's spirit or the fighting attitude they showed against Abahani in that quarterfinal.
"There is a gulf of difference between Kings and Uttar Baridhara, who have a lot of national players. And the difference was reflected on the ground," said Uttar Baridhara Club coach Sheikh Jahidur Rahman Milon. "However, I'm satisfied with the performance of the boys, who created some chances but could not cash in."
Star-studded Kings came into the match with two changes to the squad that won the Federation Cup final against Saif SC on Sunday and Oscar Bruzon's charges dominated as expected against Uttar Baridhara, who came into the match on the back of a few days of training compared to Kings' four-months of training.
Brazil's Jonathan Da Silveira Fernandes and Robson Da Silva and Argentina's Becerra were instrumental as usual and yielded at least three scoring chances within the first 25 minutes, with Becerra rattling the crossbar in the 17th minute.
Becaerra then put Kings ahead in the 35th minute with a header from a Bishwanath Ghosh cross before delivering a defense-splitting pass for Ibrahim, who raced into the box before placing the ball to the right-hand side of Baridhara goalkeeper Mamun Alif.
Baridhara twice came close to pulling a goal back but tame shots from national striker Suman Reza failed to bother Kings goalkeeper Anisur Rahman Zico.
"I think we are going to face the kind of defensive play that Baridhara played against us today. Baridhara played with a 5-4-1 formation and did not allow us to take up central positions," said Kings coach Bruzon. "Following a tough semifinal and final in the Federation Cup, the boys maintained the same tempo and intensity and confidence to see out the game although we had some difficulties in the first 30 minutes."