Bashundhara Kings’ first game in the AFC Champions League was tonight at the Sharjah Stadium in the UAE. They lost 2-0 to Sharjah FC, whose team includes former Barcelona star Miralem Pjani and Spanish player Paco Alcácer.
Luan Pereira scored two goals, one in each half, to help Sharjah FC set up a play-off match against Tractor FC of Iran. Bashundhara Kings’ first game in the competition could have been a memorable one if two Brazilian players hadn’t blown two good chances at the start of the second half after giving up the first goal.
Bashundhara Kings will now play in the group stage of the AFC Cup. They were the first Bangladeshi team to play in the AFC Champions League. Two times before, Kings made it out of the group stage of the AFC Cup.
Sharjah FC was better at keeping the ball, moving it quickly, and controlling it. This put Kings on the back foot from the start of the game, forcing them to defend against a better team.
Bashundhara Kings, who usually play build-up in local games, had to chase Sharjah FC players for almost the whole first half because the ball barely left the Bangladesh Premier League winners’ half.
Also, the players on the Spanish team irritated coach Oscar Bruzon by making a lot of sloppy plays and losing the ball soon after getting it. Even the best players on the team, like captain Robson Da Silva and Miguel Ferreira, made mistakes when playing, but the defense was good enough to keep the Sharjah forwards away until the last minute of the first half, when they gave up a goal.
Sharjah FC was much better than the other team in terms of skill, technique, speed, and movement. They controlled the game and had the first chance in the sixth minute from the left wing. But goalie Anisur Rahman Zico stopped a low shot from former Alcacer to keep the Kings in the game. Zico saved the day again when, in the 22nd minute, he stopped a Brazilian player named Luan Pereira.
At the half-hour mark, Bosnian player Pjanic took a free kick and sent it right to Ousmane Camara, who just missed heading it wide, much to Zico’s joy.
But Kings looked a bit better when they led a couple of attacks. In the 34th minute, Dorielton Gomes came close to scoring with a shot off a Robson corner.
Kings were getting more confident, but they gave up a lead unnecessarily three minutes into the four minutes of extra time at the end of the first half. When Pjanic cut the ball back from the sideline, Pereira tapped it in from close range even though two players were on him.
After the game started again, Kings played more easily and got two good chances from counterattacks, but Miguel and Dorielton both missed them.
Dorielton sent Miguel through on the right side of the box during a counterattack. The Brazilian was a little late to control the ball, so his shot from inside the box was easy for Sharjah goalie Darwish Mohammad Habib to grab in the 49th minute.
Miguel then sent Dorielton into the box, where the BPL’s top scorer’s weak shot went right into the hands of the Sharjah goalie.
After two close calls, Sharjah FC kept trying to score a second goal. They came close a few times, but Zico made the saves. But the goalie for the Bangladesh national team couldn’t stop Pereira’s strong shot in the 71st minute.