Jamal Bhuiyan and Co enjoyed possession but couldn’t create enough chances like they did against India, Qatar, and even full-strength Palestine during the semi-final of the 2018 edition
Palestine appeared unbreakable even without their best players as Bangladesh kicked off the Bangabandhu Gold Cup campaign with a 2-0 defeat against the reigning champion at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka Wednesday.
It was however, not the new faces who made the difference but irregular national forwards Khaled Salem and Layth Kharoub, who netted one each in the either side of each half to punish the perforated host defence.
Jamal Bhuiyan and Co enjoyed possession but couldn’t create enough chances like they did against India, Qatar, and even full-strength Palestine during the semi-final of the 2018 edition.
Jamie Day fielded an unusual line-up with Jamal, Mamunul Islam and Sohel Rana in midfield, while Saad Uddin started as lone striker in the absence of the injured Nabib Newaj Jibon.
Topu Barman, who played his last international during the friendly against Cambodia seven months ago, made his return after recovering from a long-term injury.
Matin Mia was given playing time (66 minutes) after six months spent sitting on the bench in the last seven matches.
The front trio played for their respective club at different positions.
Saad and Mohammad Ibrahim were deployed as full-back by their club while Matin played as left winger, but Ibrahim continued to play for the national team at the left wing sending Matin to the right.
The miscommunication between the attacking trio was evident after a good start before Salem put the visitor ahead against the run of play in the 28th minute following a brilliant through pass by Kharoub set him up unmarked at the left side of the box.
Bangladesh went close only once when Topu headed agonizingly wide at the near post in the 32nd minute after Rayhan Hasan’s long throw-in was deflected off an opponent player.
Kharoub, who made his return to the national team after four years, scored his first international goal before the hour mark with a neat placing shot after a long free-kick by defender Radwan Abukarash beat Yeasin Khan to land at the feet of the forward.
Rayhan delivered at least half a dozen long throw-ins inside the danger zone but none troubled the taller Palestine players.
Rabiul Hasan and Mahbubur Rahman Sufil were introduced after the goals but to no avail.
Day was frustrated with the way they conceded the goals.
“We had possession of the ball after the throw-in. If we don’t let them out of the area as easy we did then they don’t counter and score. If we don’t give silly free-kicks away then we don’t concede the second,” said a dejected Day.
“It’s frustrating because if you give such opportunities to the better players they will punish you. We have to learn that before going into the next game,” added the English coach before his side face Sri Lanka at the same venue in their last group stage match.
Meanwhile, east African sides Mauritius and Burundi will take on each other in the first match of Group B Thursday.
Bangladesh: Ashraful Islam Rana; Topu Barman, Yeasin Khan, Rayhan Hasan, Rahmat Mia; Mamunul Islam (Mahbubur Rahman 80’), Jamal Bhuiyan, Sohel Rana, Mohammad Ibrahim, Matin Mia (Rabiul Hasan 66’); Saad Uddin (Arifur Rahman 92’).
Palestine: Tawfiq Abuhammad; Mousa Salim, Mohammed Khalil, Radwan Abukarash, Yazan Iwaiwi; Oday Kharoub, Mahmoud Abuwarda, Mohamed Darwish (Dawoud Iraqi 75’), Sameh Maraaba, Layth Kharoub (Rami Almasalma 84’); Khaled Salem (Reebal Dahamshi 91’).
Bangladesh 0 2 Palestine (Khaled 28, Kharoub 58)
Mauritius v Burundi