Muktis thru to semisStaff Correspondent
Three-time champions Muktijoddha Sangsad moved on to the semi-finals of the Federation Cup after two second-half goals from Nigerian forward Nkwocha Kingsley propelled them to a 2-0 win over Brothers Union in their quarter-final match at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Sunday.
Kingsley’s two goals in the span of seven minutes against his former club, Brothers Union, set up a semi-final date between Muktijoddha and the winners of today’s Sheikh Russel KC-Team BJMC quarter-final.
Muktijoddha were expected to have had an easy time against Brothers, having beaten holders Sheikh Russel in a strong group stage campaign, but they instead found themselves in a closer contest than anticipated, with the scores still deadlocked an hour into the match.
With security still a concern due to the political situation, the match was played in front of a sparse crowd, but the tension remained high as neither team distinguished themselves before half-time.
The first half was evenly-matched, with neither side conjuring any real scoring opportunities despite the frenetic pace of the action.
Things changed, however, in the second half and Muktijoddha began to threaten, finally breaking the deadlock in the 62nd minute when Kingsley tapped the ball in after it landed in the six-yard box off an Enamul Haque corner.
Kingsley doubled his tally - and the lead – when he headed in Shafiqul Islam Bipul’s cross from the right in the 69th minute.
Muktijoddha could have added a third in the final moments but Eleta Kingsley fired over the goalkeeper, who came off his line, instead of squaring to Nkwocha Kingsley for a wide-open hat-trick strike.
‘The players might have taken Brothers lightly after the win against Sheikh Russel, and they looked disorganised in the first half,’ said Muktijoddha Sangsad coach Shafiqul Islam Manik.
‘But we bounced back in the second half due to having some experienced players. They got rhythm and grew in confidence after scoring the first goal.’
Brothers coach Syed Nayeemuddin attributed the loss to a lack of understanding between his players.
‘I have got some time to prepare the boys, and there are still lapses in combination and understanding between them,’ said the Indian, in his fourth season in charge of Brothers.
‘I think they need some time to improve their performance but I am happy that they have fought against Muktijoddha till the last minute.’
Muktijoddha Sangsad 2 (N Kingsley 62, 70) v Brothers Union 0
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