Korea, who earned a place in the knockout stage with a 3-0 win over Saudi Arabia in the previous match, didn’t have it easy against the men in red and green, especially in the late stages of the game
A spirited Bangladesh Olympic team put up a brave display before concluding their historic Asian Games 2018 campaign with a fighting 3-1 defeat against reigning runners-up North Korea in the Round of 16 at Wibawa Mukti Stadium in Bekasi, Indonesia on Friday.
What perhaps was the most positive aspect Bangladesh can take from the defeat was that the team kept their breath to run alongside the faster and more skilled Korean forward-line throughout the game.
Korea, who earned a place in the knockout stage with a 3-0 win over Saudi Arabia in the previous match, didn’t have it easy against the men in red and green, especially in the late stages of the game.
Jamie Day made no changes in the squad that started against Thailand and Qatar but the three changes made by the English coach after trailing by 3-0 made a notable impact as it penetrated the Korean defence in the last few minutes.
Three youngsters Rabiul Hasan, Md Abdullah and Zafar Iqbal came off the bench in the last half-hour mark to trouble the Korean defence and entertain the Bangladesh audience, despite the game’s result being nothing short of a formality by then.
Saad Uddin rewarded Bangladesh’s fighting spirit with a consolation goal in injury time. The versatile striker sent the ball home into the net with a side-volley from a goal-mouth scramble followed by a cross from substitute midfielder Rabiul Hasan.
Bangladesh could have scored another moments later when Rabiul’s close-range header following a cross of another substitute forward Jafar Iqbal flew over the bar.
Early in the game, Masuk Miah Zoni tried to break into the box through the left-flank in the second minute but got stopped by the Korean defence just outside the box.
Topu Barman had a hectic game starting with a brilliant tackle to put an end to a dangerous run buy Korean forward Yong Thae Han at the right-side of the box few minutes later.
Bangladesh conceded a controversial penalty in the 13th minute when Sushanta Tripura tried for a header-clearance but the referee blew whistle for a foul. Korean striker Yu Song Kim made no mistake to put his side ahead from the spot.
Bangladesh had their only chance of the first-half in the 32nd minute when Topu saw his header following a free-kick of Jamal Bhuiyan go over the bar.
Han doubled the lead in the 38th minute following a fine build-up, drifting past the Bangladesh defence into the right side of the box, before firing into the near post giving Rana no chance to respond.
Korean skipper Kuk Chol Jang made it 3-0 in the 68th minute with a simple tap-in from three yards away after substitute forward Jyong Hyok So outwitted the defence through the right side of the box before delivering the killer pass.
It was however a different story for Jamal Bhuiyan and co in the second half. Md Abdullah was introduced in the 64th minute replacing Zoni at the right-wing. Saad was deployed at the center-back position with Rabiul Hasan, who came off the bench replacing Sufil, and was a vibrant presence behind Saad.
Topu tried his luck one more time in the 81st minute but this time the tall defender’s header in another Jamal free-kick went straight to the keeper. It was also Jamal’s short-pass from a free-kick in which Rabiul delivered the cross for Saad’s goal.
Meanwhile, the team is scheduled to leave Indonesia to return home on Saturday night.
Bangladesh’s Xl: Ashraful Islam Rana; Sushanto Tripura, Tutul Hossain Badshah, Topu Barman, Bishwanath Ghosh; Atiqur Rahman Fahad, Jamal Bhuiyan, Masuk Miah Zoni (Md Abdullah), Biplo Ahmed (Jafar Iqbal), Saad Uddin; Mahbubur Rahman Sufil (Rabiul Hasan).