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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Maldives deny Bengal Tigers

Update : 26 Dec 2015, 07:56 PM

A sorry Bangladesh side crashed out of the Saff Suzuki Cup after they were beaten by Maldives 3-1 in their second Group B match at Trivandrum International Stadium in Kerala yesterday.

Veteran striker Ali Ashfaq put Maldives ahead from the penalty spot in the first half before Hemanta Vincent Biswas equalised the margin in the latter stages of the second half but two late goals by Naiz Hassan and Nashid downed the Bengal Tigers at the end. All Bangladesh needed from yesterday’s game was a victory but a draw would have extended their hopes for the semi-finals till the third and final match but the loss all but sent the red and greens crashing out in the group stages.

Maruful Haque changed almost the entire defence line from the previous game with only Yeasin Khan managing to keep his place as Rayhan Hasan, Waly Faisal and Topu Barman came in for Nasirul Islam Nasir, Nasir Uddin Chowdhury and Yeamin Munna. Jamal Bhuiyan also returned to the squad, replacing Sohel Rana. Hemanta started upfront with Shakhawat Hossain Rony and Zahid Hossain on the wings.

Bangladesh, who took the pitch with a bitter memory of a 4-0 loss to Afghanistan in the opening game, had a decent start to the game and went close to breaking the deadlock on two occasions before conceding the opener.

The first real chance came in the 26th minute of the tie when Zahid’s header hit the side-post following a long Waly cross from the left flank.

Rony squandered the best chance for Bangladesh three minutes later when Jamal’s precise cross put him one-on-one with the keeper at the middle of the box. Rony’s first touch was good but his second was anything but as the Maldives goalkeeper calmly produced a save.

Bangladesh’s defence seemed organised at the beginning but they continued to concede silly fouls near the penalty area. Waly had been brilliant until his handball incident earned the opponents a penalty in the 42nd minute. Sohel had a touch on the ball but it was not enough to stop Ashfaq from scoring his 41st international goal.

The Bengal Tigers went all-out for the equaliser in the second half. All their substitutes were meant for strengthening the attacking line but there was a huge lack of finishing touches in front of goal against a solid Maldives defence.

Hemanta finally gave Bangladesh the much-needed equaliser in the 87th minute with a powerful strike outside the box that deflected off a Maldives player before hitting the back of the net. The delight though lasted for barely two minutes as Naiz’s brilliant back-heel finishing put Bangladesh behind again before Nashid sealed victory from a counter-attack five minutes into injury time.

Maldives became the first team to move to the semifinals with six points from two matches while Afghanistan also joined them later with a 3-0 victory over Bhutan in the second match of the day. 

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