The game will kick off at BNS at 5pm and a win would see Bangladesh play in the final for the second time in six editions, and the first since 2015
Without their top defenders, Bangladesh will take on the most attacking side in the tournament but the host are confident of making their mark in the second semi-final of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup against Burundi Thursday at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka.
Worries remained in the center-back position after two first-choice defenders Topu Barman and Yeasin Khan were ruled out of the game due to suspension and fever respectively.
Bangladesh head coach Jamie Day didn’t reveal anything at the pre-match press conference regarding who would partner youngster Riyadul Hasan Rafi in the heart of defence, whether it’s the versatile and experienced defender Rayhan Hasan or Monjurul Rahman Manik, who is yet to make his senior debut.
“It made it harder because we lost defenders. We have Rayhan, Manik, Bishwanath [Ghosh], Sushanto [Tripura] and Rafi and so we will pick four from them. There is enough time to decide the names,” said Day yesterday, confirming midfielder Jamal Bhuiyan’s return to the XI after the skipper missed the group stage match against Sri Lanka due to injury.
“It will be good challenge for defenders. They need to be strong, organized and have good communication. We also have to counter with pace and quality and if we do that we will get chances and hopefully we convert them like we did in the last game,” the English coach added.
Burundi scored seven goals in two group phase matches against African counterparts Seychelles and Mauritius, but their defence also looked vulnerable at times, receiving many threats along with conceding goals in both the games.
“They gave chances to other teams to score goals. So there is a weakness which we need to exploit. When we get into the area, we need to make sure we have the quality to score goals. That will be the key [Thursday],” Day added, hoping his new striker Matin Mia carries on his fine form after netting a brace against the Lankans.
Burundi head coach Joslin Bipfubusa said they would continue playing with attacking instinct while reshuffling the defensive organization.
“Our philosophy is to attack. (In) football (you) attack and defend, so both teams will attack to score. We are confident to beat Bangladesh,” said Joslin.
Before facing Bangladesh for the first time, the Burundi coach added, “It is all about tactics. We used two different tactics for two games but when we will play against Bangladesh, you will see different tactics and solid defence.”
Bangladesh lost to reigning champion Palestine in the same stage of the tournament in 2018 while Burundi is in Bangladesh for the first time.
Joslin though informed that they reached the semi-final in many other tournaments, especially mentioning their U-20 side’s African Nations Cup semi appearance in 1996.
Day, who also fielded two different formations in the group stage, including an unusual 4-4-2 during the 3-0 win over Sri Lanka, hinted of making one or two changes in the attacking combination to accommodate Jamal with Manik Hossain Mollah likely to keep his place in defensive midfield.
The game will kick off at BNS at 5pm and a win would see Bangladesh play in the final for the second time in six editions, and the first since 2015.