Dubious officiating marred the entire Federation Cup and it was no different in the second semi-final as a late Jibon equalizer in the second half of extra time was cancelled due to a controversial off-side call
Record 11-time winners Abahani Limited fell victims to prejudiced refereeing as Bashundhara Kings advanced to the grand finale of the season opening Federation Cup after a contentious semi-final at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka Thursday which ended 3-1 in favor of the latter.
Dubious officiating marred the entire Federation Cup and it was no different in the second semi-final as a late Nabib Newaj Jibon equalizer in the second half of extra time was cancelled due to a controversial off-side call.
The high octane clash between the two domestic giants was locked at 1-1 after the end of normal time; Abahani drawing first blood at the half hour mark through Brazilian striker Francisco, who sidefooted home from a pass from Haitian Kervens Belfort.
The Kings brought parity in the 51st minute through Brazilian attacker Jonathan Fernandes after an individual run into the box and a finish, although it was initially rewarded to Chilean striker of Argentine origin, Raul Beccera.
With the first half of extra time ending goalless, penalties were looming on the horizon, a repeat of the 2018-19 final when the Sky Blues prevailed in the tiebreaker over the Kings.
But the Kings’ Raul and Fernandes struck in the dying stages of the game to set up a final clash with Saif Sporting Club, contesting their first ever Federation Cup final in the absence of inspirational captain and midfield lynchpin Jamal Bhuiyan.
Saif Sporting Club reached their first ever Federation Cup final as they beat Chittagong Abahani Limited by a convincing 3-0 margin in the first semi-final at Bangabandhu National Stadium Wednesday.Sports Tribune on Wednesday, 6 January 2021
Raul first gave the Kings the lead in the 110th minute after a build-up down the right flank before a melee ensued moments later when Bangladesh striker Jibon found the back of the net only to see it ruled out as off-side.
TV replays showed Jibon was on-side when Francisco released him with a chested pass, owing to an extended arm of a Kings defender.
Abahani were targeting a place in the final for the 19th time and no doubt Jibon’s disallowed goal was a blow to the Sky Blues’ dreams, after they fought valiantly throughout the semi.
Belfort especially was having none of it as the game was paused for a few minutes.
When the game did resume, player of the match Fernandes made it 3-1 to set up a final with Saif Sporting Sunday at the same venue.
Saif Sporting earlier thrashed Chittagong Abahani Limited 3-0 in the first semi-final Wednesday.