Relegated side Farashganj Sporting Club became the first club to reach the quarter-final of the Independence Cup after concluding their group stage campaign with a 1-1 draw against Bangladesh Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Chakra at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka Thursday.
In the day's other match at the same venue, rising powerhouse Saif Sporting Club ended the group stage with two consecutive draws when they played out another goalless encounter against Arambagh Krira Sangha. Saif Sporting's bid for the last eight now depends on the result of the last Group D game between Chittagong Abahani Limited and Arambagh, scheduled to be held at BNS next Friday.
National players like Jamal Bhuiyan, Hemanta Vincent Biswas, Ariful Islam and Shakil Ahmed couldn't change Saif Sporting's fate as the side rarely created any notable chances in the game. Arambagh initiated a brilliant attack in the 42nd minute but midfielder Arafat Hossain's header from a precise cross by Shahrier Bappy flew over the bar. The Motijheel outfit had another big chance moments before the final whistle when substitute defender Arif broke into the left side of the penalty area but his final shot went inches wide off the far post.
Meanwhile, Farashganj, who were relegated from the premier league only last week, continued their unbeaten run to get the ticket for the quarter-final with a win and a draw in Group B. The other club from the same group, Brothers Union will now play Muktijoddha in their last match Saturday.
Mohammad Alamgir put the Old Dhaka outfit ahead in the 25th minute. Collecting a misplaced pass from the opponent's territory, Mona entered into the left side of the box before slotting home past Muktis goalkeeper Azad Hossain with a neat grounder.
Amirul Islam cancelled the lead within a minute into the second half, placing home from inside the box after receiving a through pass from Shah Alamgir Anik.
(Alamgir 25) 1 Muktijoddha
Saif Sporting 0 0 Arambagh
BJMC v Sk Russel, 3:30pm
Mohammedan v Rahmatganj, 5.45pm
Both the games will be held at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka