Hernan Barcos, who featured for Argentina national team four times, headed his first two goals within half an hour before netting two more after the break, while skipper Daniel Colindres added the other to record Bashundhara Kings' biggest win of the season
Argentine striker Hernan Barcos made a remarkable debut in Bangladesh with a sensational quadruple as Bashundhara Kings kicked off their maiden AFC Cup 2020 campaign from Group E with a dominating 5-1 win over TC Sports in Dhaka Wednesday.
Barcos, who featured for Argentina national team four times, headed his first two goals within half an hour before netting two more after the break, while skipper Daniel Colindres added the other to record Bashundhara’s biggest win of the season.
It was arguably the best performance of the season from the Kings whose goalkeeper Anisur Rahman Zico also starred in between the posts by making three penalty saves, one of which was scored on the rebound during Easa Ismail’s equalizer, while the other was retaken and saved again with a dive to his left.
Bangabandhu National Stadium took a different look inside and outside to welcome the first ever AFC Cup match of the reigning Bangladesh Premier League champion and joys knew no bounds to the 10,000 home fans every time Barcos found the net.
Kings’ head coach Oscar Bruzon argued after the game whether it was their best display but praised Barcos, who filled the club’s missing holes in the domestic league.
The BPL champion’s conversion rate has been a problem this season and the Argentine proved within half an hour how effective he is as a box player with Colindres around.
Barcos could have opened the scoring in the third minute had he not missed Colindres’ cross from close range and another opportunity came within seven minutes when Colindres passed him back without trying on his own in a one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
Moments after Biplo Ahmed’s shot from Barcos’ pass was punched away, the 35-year old striker finally broke the deadlock in the 18th minute, heading home a precise cross from Colindres from the left side.
Topu Barman dealt well pocketing veteran striker Ali Ashfaq throughout the game but his defensive partner Yeasin Khan struggled to stop the Maldivian star Easa that led to a penalty three minutes later.
Zico denied Easa’s first attempt from the spot but had nothing to do with the second one.
Kings took the lead again five minutes later and this time Barcos came up with an even better header past the Pakistan goalkeeper Saqib Hanif, thanks to Biplo who dribbled past a defender before feeding the ball.
Zico produced yet another spectacular save to deny TC’s second penalty, a controversial one, earned soon after the break and taken by Easa twice as the initial shot was saved but cancelled by the referee.
The visiting side changed their strategy, going a bit offensive to make the comeback, but it backfired as their defenders found it difficult to deal with the pace, quality and skill of the Kings foreign recruits.
Barcos completed his hat-trick in the 68th minute from a penalty after Colindres was fouled by Akram Gani near the goalline, 10 minutes before Colindres netted his first goal of the AFC Cup with a glancing header, following a delicious cross from Bishwanath Ghosh.
Barcos, the top-paid signing of the BPL, scored his fourth to hammer the last nail in the coffin with a cool finish from the top of the box after Colindres’ initial effort was blocked.
Bashundhara 5 (Barcos 18, 26, 68, 92, Colindres 76) 1 TC (Easa 21)
Bashundhara: Zico; Yeasin (Rana 46), Topu, Bishwanath, Faisal; Delmonte, Baktyiar, Biplo (Rabiul 81); Ibrahim (Sabuj 87), Colindres; Barcos.
TC: Saqib; Mahmoud, Shamis, Akram, Farrah (Ajufaan 85); Khalil, Rilwan (Azzam 62); Stewart, Ishan, Easa (Nizar 78); Ashfaq.