The former treble winners will face the winner of Thursday’s second semifinal between Abahani and Bashundhara Kings in the final on Monday next week
Uzbek forward Alisher Azizov netted a brace as Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra reached the final of Walton Independence Cup after five years handing Brothers Union a 2-0 defeat in the first semifinal at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Wednesday.
The former treble winners will face the winner of Thursday’s second semifinal between Abahani Limited and Bashundhara Kings in the final on Monday next week.
After dominating possession for quite a while, Alisher finally broke the deadlock in the 45th minute, volleying home from an unmarked position at the edge of six-yard box, following Raphael’s cross from the right side of the penalty area.
Alisher was unmarked once again in the middle of the box as the Uzbek forward converted Khalekurzaman’s rapid cross, six minutes into the second half to double the lead.
Sheikh Russel head coach Saiful Bari Titu made no changes in the starting eleven from the quarterfinal but Brothers’ Indian coach Syed Naeemuddin admitted after the game that the team missed the services of his foreign duo – forward Jack Daniels Agullar (Panama) and defender Khalid Al-Khmaysawee (Iraq). Joseph Nur replaced the suspended Jack to start in the attacking front.
Russel could have opened the scoring in the third minute when Raphael made a dangerous run towards the goal with a slight resistance from Ashraful Karim outside the box before being tackled down by the defender at the top of the box.
Brothers’ Brazilian attacking pair Leonardo Lima and Everton Souza were not up to the mark. In the 12th minute, Leonardo Lima saw his header from the middle of the box go straight to the keeper Ashraful Islam Rana.
Russel piled more pressure in the last ten minutes of the opening half as Brothers’ defender Khan Mohammad Tara made a shaky headed-clearance to rescue the fort. It was followed by Yeamin Munna’s corner before Raphael’s strike from outside the box was punched away by keeper Sujon Chowdhury for another corner.
Titu’s side continued their dominance after the second goal, controlling possession and keeping the defence solid for the rest of the game, to secure the final spot after five long years. Titu mentioned the first goal as a turning point of the game, saying: “Till the end of the opening half we couldn’t perform as we planned before. It was a good time to get the goal.”
Veteran Naeemuddin said after the game: “It was difficult to come up with the win in the absence of our two foreign players. They were missed on the pitch especially after conceding the goal. Hope to make up the mistakes before the league.”
1st Semifinal Result
Brothers Union Ltd 0 - Sheikh Russel 2(Azizov 45’,51’)
2nd Semifinal (Thursday)
Bashundhara Kings v Abahani Ltd Dhaka