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  • Last Update : 10:24 am

11-time champions Abahani into Fed Cup semis

  • Published at 02:40 pm January 4th, 2021
Abahani's Francisco is the toast of his teammates following his last-minute winner against Baridhara in the Fed Cup quarter-final in Dhaka Monday BFF

Baridhara players create ugly scenes, harry referee

Record 11-time Federation Cup winners and traditional crowdpullers Abahani Limited set up a blockbuster semi-final clash with holders and rising powerhouse Bashundhara Kings after beating Uttar Baridhara Club 1-0 in the dying stages of the fourth quarter-final at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka Monday.

Abahani and the Kings will take on each other Thursday at the same venue in the second semi, a day after Chittagong Abahani Limited lock horns with Saif Sporting Club in the first last four tie.

Underdogs Uttar Baridhara were looking to upset the semi-finals trend after three title favorites, Oscar Bruzon’s Kings, Maruful Haque’s Chittagong Abahani and Paul Put’s Saif Sporting confirmed their places in the last four.

But it was eventually Abahani who had the last laugh in the 94th minute of the game through a blistering right-foot strike by striker Francisco Rodriguez De Souza Filho Torres.

The Brazilian hammered the final nail in the coffin in the penultimate minute of time added on after wonderful build up by Mario Lemos’ charges, who won the last of their 11 titles in 2018.

Veteran defender Nasiruddin Chowdhury sent his throw in towards the path of Afghanistan defender Masih Saighani, who whipped in a delightful long ball for Francisco, who made no mistake by rifling home.

Holders Bashundhara Kings progressed to the Federation Cup semi-final after beating Lt. Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club Limited 2-0 in the third quarter-final at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka Sunday.

Posted by Sports Tribune on Sunday, 3 January 2021

Baridhara players and later the officials protested animatedly right before the final whistle, saying they weren’t ready for the throw in after their captain and Bangladesh forward Sumon Reza was stretchered off the field injured.

Nasiruddin did take the throw in after getting signal from referee Alamgir Sarkar, while Baridhara goalkeeper Mamun Alif appeared prepared on replays before Francisco thumped in the winner.

There were protests from the dugout which resulted in a sending off of a Baridhara official, and a yellow card for Mamun, while Francisco was also reprimanded with a yellow after taking off his jersey that sparked wild celebrations in the Abahani touchline.

Abahani controlled the roughly contested affair with relentless attacks but a lack of composure in the final third meant the Sky Blues had to wait till Francisco’s intervention in the 94th minute.

Francisco’s compatriot Rafael Augusto also put in a cultured display in midfield but he and his teammate were continuously thwarted by some cynical challenges from Baridhara players.

Mamun also wasted precious seconds every time he took a goal kick in pursuit of perhaps taking the game into extra time, and later, penalties, while referee Alamgir was often surrounded and harried by Baridhara players whenever a decision went Abahani’s way.

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