With a thrilling 2-1 victory over Mohammedan SC in the Independence Cup final yesterday at the Sheikh Fazlul Haque Moni Stadium in Gopalganj, Bashundhara Kings created another chapter in their remarkable comeback narrative.
During their most recent AFC Cup campaign, the Kings had a pattern of winning four straight games after losing the first goal.
Oscar Bruzon’s forces showed the same tenacity yesterday in the Independence Cup final, coming back to win their third trophy despite being reduced to 10 men and giving up the first goal.
The Brazilian duo of Robson Da Silva, Miguel Ferreira, and Dorielton Gomes—who had all been instrumental in the AFC Cup victories—designed the winning strategy for the Kings in the championship game. Robson found Rakib Hossain for the equalizer, and Miguel helped Dorielton score the winning goal.
Kings had a tough test against Mohammedan SC, the self-proclaimed “underdogs,” despite the fact that the stakes were not as high as those of the AFC Cup.
After Kings’ winger Rafiqul Islam was given the all-clear in the 48th minute, Alfaz Ahmed’s team held their own in the first half. However, Mohammedan took full advantage of their one-man advantage in the 50th minute when Nigeria’s Emanuel Sunday headed the goal.
However, giving up the goal set the Kings on fire, as they responded with a score in just two minutes.
“Even though we were down to 10 men, we still played attacking football. Rakib, who leveled the score with a low left-footed shot inside the box, remarked, “We knew anything could happen in the final, but we were optimistic of winning the match.”
Kings never appeared to be shorthanded as they continued to put in a lot of effort to score the winner two minutes later.
Brazilian captain Robson of the Kings stated that although though his side was shorthanded in players and had conceded first, he thought they would come back, as they had done numerous times in the previous few months.
“I knew the game would be tough once we gave up the goal. However, our team has shown excellent skill and mental toughness. After the game, Robson remarked, “I knew we were going to be champions when we leveled the game.”
After being down to 10 players, Bruzon changed his lineup to improve the defense by starting three center backs and keeping strikers Dorielton and Miguel up front.
Bruzon claimed to have made the required tactical adjustments after learning from their 1-2 Federation Cup loss to Mohammedan the previous season.
We knew going into the game against Mohammedan in Gopalganj would be extremely difficult because we had already faced them in the Federation Cup semifinal of the previous season. That was our mental preparation before the game. Thus, this time, we were far more prepared.
We did not play our typical build-up style and we had little midfield possession. We made an effort to capitalize on the set pieces and win the second ball. Mohammedan was prepared for us as well. Oscar remarked, “I think the game could have gone either way and we are fortunate to defend the title.”