• Tuesday, Jul 07, 2020
  • Last Update : 11:15 am

Distant hope for a point against Thailand

  • Published at 07:15 pm August 15th, 2018
Bangladesh U-23 football team pose for photographs prior to their Asian Games match against Uzbekistan in Bogor Tuesday BFF

In 14 meetings against Thailand, the men in red and green have lost nine times

With the hope of getting a point out of the tough group of the Asian Games football, Bangladesh Olympic team will take on Thailand in their second Group B match at Pakansari Stadium in Sentul City of Indonesia’s West Java province Thursday at 3pm, Bangladesh Standard Time.

There was no sign of discontent on the faces of the Bangladesh players after their 3-0 defeat against Uzbekistan the previous day, rather they looked relaxed enjoying swimming, gym session and team discussions throughout the day. 

The 11 players who started the opening game were given the highest rest time with no practice session before the Thailand game. 

In 14 meetings against Thailand, the men in red and green have lost nine times. 

When Jamie Day was analysing the match video of the Uzbekistan match at the team hotel and trying to find the loopholes, the rest of the players of the squad, along with the seven senior members in the tour, went for a practice session at Pajajaran Stadium in the afternoon, under the guidance of assistant coach Stuart Watkiss. 

Keeping aside the national team’s head-to-head record against the team who are 72 places above Bangladesh in the latest Fifa ranking, Day is still optimistic of securing a point.

Or else, a much-likely defeat would see his charges officially get eliminated from the tournament. 

Predicting the consequences earlier, Bangladesh however, booked their return ticket for Tuesday before the knockout stage begins.

Reminding Bangladesh’s last win (3-1) against Thailand during a Fifa World Cup qualifying match in Dhaka in 1989, manager Satyajit Das Rupu, who was one of the scorers back then, said if the players can keep the consistency in the game with a more compact defence, there might be a chance.

Both Rupu and Day watched Thailand’s game against Qatar Tuesday. 

Day hinted of making one or two changes in the starting XI. 

Day was criticised by some for not starting three youngsters – Mohammad Abdullah, Zafar Iqbal and Matin Miah – against Uzbekistan.

Will any of them return?

There would unlikely be any change in the team formation of 4-2-3-1 but it could be 4-4-1-1, depending on the situation of the game. 

Atiqur Rahman Fahad was a vibrant presence in holding midfield, partnering with captain Jamal Bhuiyan. 

The midfield duo’s consistency would be vital, along with goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana, to reach their coach’s target.

“We play three nations who are far ahead of us in the ranking. But I’m hopeful. It’s important how we start the game, the players have to give their best and work hard on the pitch. We try to win, even if we get a point that would be fantastic,” Day hoped.

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