• Sunday, Sep 23, 2018
  • Last Update : 10:29 am

Bangladesh eye win, semi-final berth

  • Published at 09:16 pm September 5th, 2018
Bangladesh
Bangladesh footballers jog during training in Dhaka earlier in September Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik

The home side are expecting to face a stiffer challenge than the first match, when they beat Bhutan 2-0 to make a good start, as Bangladesh head coach Jamie Day repeatedly warned about the more physical and stronger Pakistan outfit

Bangladesh are confident but cautious to carry on their winning run and confirm their semi-final berth at the Saff Championship 2018 when they take on Pakistan in their second Group A match at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka Thursday. 

The match will kick-off at 7pm. 

The home side are expecting to face a stiffer challenge than the first match, when they beat Bhutan 2-0 to make a good start, as Bangladesh head coach Jamie Day repeatedly warned about the more physical and stronger Pakistan outfit.  

The last encounter between the two sides produced a bitter result for the men in red and green as they lost 2-1, despite taking the lead, and exited from the Saff Championship 2013, staged in Nepal.

However, the Bangladesh side seemed to have transformed into a different outfit and the physically improved team are eager to bury the bitter memories. 

Although the fitness and attitude of the Bangladesh players have improved in recent times, they will face a daunting task against Pakistan, who showed their physical strength in their 2-1 win against Nepal, and might have to be extra cautious against some of their Europe-based players.  

“It’s going to be a tough game against a good side. They have some good European-based players. I know physically they will be strong but that doesn’t mean they are better team,” said Day, especially alluding to the Pakistani attacking pair Muhammad Ali and Naweed Bashir, who play in the second-tier league in Denmark.

“We need to perform to our best level if we want to get some points from the game. So we are confident, the boys are confident, they are looking forward to [Thursday's] game.

“We have to be sensible and we, obviously, want the win. For us, we start out to win and not to lose. That’s the game-plan, we want to win but not lose it,” added the English coach. 

The confidence was also visible among Bangladesh players as Topu Barman, who has been a reliable presence in the national team defence for quite a while, expressed confidence about Thursday's match. 

The tall centre-back, who had a memorable Asian Games and broke the deadlock against Bhutan by converting a spot kick in just the third minute of the first game of the current tournament, sounded confident about maintaining the winning run. 

“We all are confident after winning the first game and playing well there. We want to continue the hard work and play as a team to bring three points for the country,” said the defender. 

“We expect a fighting game but we are ready to give our best and put up an even better performance than we did against Bhutan. We don’t want to let the home crowd go down after raising all the expectation,” he added.