Already-champions Bashundhara Kings were given a rare guard of honour in a Bangladesh Premier League encounter by hosts Saif SC, who however suffered a 2-0 defeat to the visitors at the Rafique Uddin Bhuiyan Stadium yesterday.
Bashundhara Kings came into the match after confirming the professional football league title with two matches in hand, and the Saif SC players honoured the champion team with a guard of honour and shaking hands with them.
Though giving guard of honour to the champion team is a tradition followed in the European leagues, this is a rare instance in Bangladesh as no one gave six-time champions Abahani or three-time champions Sheikh Jamal DC such symbolic honour before.
“It is a sign of respect as Bashundhara Kings became champions. We gave them flowers and gifts. They looked happy with our gesture,” said Saif SC captain Jamal Bhuiyan, who however missed the match due to one-match suspension.
“I don’t know whether this gesture will continue in future but Saif SC felt it and did it,” said Jamal, also the captain of the national team.
“We did not expect to get such a guard of honour and it was an unexpected surprise for us,” Bashundhara Kings manager BA Jubair Nipu said. “We are overwhelmed with this gesture which I think happened for the first time in Bangladesh football. Saif SC also sent snacks to our dressing room after the match.”
Bashundhara Kings rested four regular players in the match, but they were still good enough to beat the hosts on a rain-soaked pitch, with Costa Rican forward Daniel Colindres scoring either side of the break.
Bashundhara got an opportunity to take the lead in the 13th minute, but Emon Mahmud’s spot-kick was saved by Saif SC goalkeeper Saiful Islam. Saif SC, too, came close to breaking the deadlock in the 18th minute, but Bashundhara defender Nurul Nayeem Faisal made a goalline save.
Colindres gave the visitors the lead two minutes into the stoppage time of the first half with a curling effort from inside the box with Saiful having no time to react.
The Costa Rican then wrapped up the victory by nodding home a cross from Towhidul ALam Sabuz minutes into the five-minute of added time of the second half.
With 20 wins in 23 matches, leaders Bashundhara Kings raised their tally to 62 points while Saif SC remained in fourth position with 44 points from 23 matches.
Bashundhara 2 (Colindres 45+, 90+) – 0 Saif Sporting