• Tuesday, Oct 26, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:01 am

Bangladesh eye series, Nepal win

  • Published at 08:37 pm November 16th, 2020
Bangladesh midfielder Robiul Hasan whips in a cross during training in Dhaka Monday Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik

This will be the first time Day will not be seen in the dug-out of the Bangladesh team since his appointment in May, 2018

Bangladesh want to win it for Jamie Day who is ruled out due to Covid-19 infection, while travelling Nepal side are fully cured from the virus and resolute to level the two-game Fifa friendly series Tuesday, starting at 5pm.

This will be the first time English coach Day will not be seen in the dug-out of the Bangladesh team since his appointment in May, 2018. 

Assistant coach Stuart Watkiss will be in charge of the men in red and green in his absence.

The home side didn’t have to toil hard to beat their neighbor 2-0 in what was their first competitive match in eight months where both sides looked a bit short of fitness, strength and understanding among the players.

With more time in training in the last couple of days as well as lessons from the slip-ups of the first game, the second friendly is expected to offer more competitiveness, if the home team convert Day’s absence into strength.

Strikers Nabib Newaj Jibon and Mahbubur Rahman Sufil were delightfully clinical for the two goals but at the same time the host missed three clear-cut chances in the first half. 

There was also lack of communication and missed passes in midfield which was more evident after captain Jamal Bhuiyan and Manik Mollah left the pitch together just before the hour-mark.

“We have to improve a lot in the second half. Our goal is to play good in both of the halves because it’s not enough to play good only in first half, then we see better football and better score,” central midfielder Jamal said in the pre-match presser.

During the last couple of days, it seemed the focus in Bangladesh’s training was to improve the passing mainly, finishing skill from different positions as well as recovery of the players.

Action from the Bangladesh training session at Bangabandhu National Stadium Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik  

If the final practice match in yesterday’s morning session is taken into consideration, there wouldn’t be many changes in the starting XI but odds are on first-choice goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana, who was rested for the first friendly to give Anisur Rahman Zico his debut.

Another debutant striker Sumon Reza couldn’t impress much while his replacement in the second half, Sufil snatched the opportunity with a beautiful one-on-one finish to kill the game. 

It proved how effective Sufil’s pace is when the opponent players are a bit tired at the end.  

However, Watkiss hinted a few changes during the pre-match zoom presser. 

He said, “It’s important that we put minutes into the players. You might see a couple of changes but you wouldn’t see wholesale changes. I would expect the substitutions to play an important part of the game.”

Nepal, on the other hand, found out defensive flaws in the first game. 

Head coach Bal Gopal Maharjan admitted it and said there might be changes in the back-four. 

Left-back Ranjit Dhimal missed the first friendly due to Covid-19. 

His report came negative two days later and he is likely to return to the starting XI to make Saad Uddin’s job more difficult on the wing.

Assistant coach Stuart Watkiss was in charge of training the last two days Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik

The visiting side looked a bit fitter in the second half but couldn’t put up their usual performance as a team. 

Perhaps that is why Gopal stretched more on team play by dividing the squad into two groups in the last two days’ training sessions.

“We had senior and new players that is why there was lack of communication and understanding position wise. We will not make same mistakes. We are prepared well. The boys worked hard to give 100% for better performance and result,” said Gopal.

As Jamal expects, Nepal will be more attacking for the win and Bangladesh too can utilize and exploit their strength in counter attacks. 

But the absence of Day, whose on-field tactics and advice played crucial role before, might cause suffering for the home side on occasions.

The Nepal coach also admitted it saying, “I hope for Day’s quick recovery. Definitely the absence of head coach in technical area will have impact in the team. It’s little bit problem for the boys without him. We have to take good advantage from that kind of situation.”

The last match of the Mujib Barsho Fifa International Football Series 2020 will be held at Bangabandhu National Stadium. 

New TV channel T Sports will broadcast the game live.

Only 8,000 spectators are allowed for the game but the number was more during the first friendly and social distancing was not also maintained properly. 

BFF stated that they would be stricter amid growing interest from the fans to watch the last international football match in the country this year.

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