• Tuesday, Sep 25, 2018
  • Last Update : 07:10 pm

Bangladesh all but seal semi spot after Pakistan win

  • Published at 08:57 pm September 6th, 2018
Bangladesh
Bangladesh's Topu Barman nets the all-important winner during their Saff Championship match against Pakistan in Dhaka Thursday Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik

The second consecutive win for the men in red and green took them closer to a semi-final berth

Topu Barman scored a brilliant late goal to ignite a euphoric celebration as host Bangladesh won 1-0 in their Group A match against Pakistan at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka Thursday evening. The second consecutive win for the men in red and green took them closer to a semi-final berth. 

The defensive tactics of the visitor saw the first half finish in a stalemate but the host regrouped themselves in the second half as Topu scored the winner to make the 15,000 spectators ecstatic. 

Despite two consecutive victories, Bangladesh’s place in the knockout stage is not decided yet as they have to wait till Saturday’s last Group A fixtures when they take on Nepal and Pakistan face Bhutan. Only one point against Nepal will ensure Bangladesh’s semi-final berth and even if they lose, they will still go through provided Pakistan fail to win against Bhutan. 

Jamie Day made only one change from the Bhutan win as experienced midfielder Mamunul Islam replaced youngster Atiqur Rahman Fahad to partner Jamal Bhuiyan in midfield. The hero of the last match, Mahbubur Rahman Sufil, kept his place as the centre forward but was marked by a couple of opponent defenders throughout the match. 

Shahidul Alam Sohel, who replaced experienced goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana, started again between the posts and repaid the faith of his coach.

Pakistan made three changes as their Brazilian head coach Jose Nogueira brought in defenders Nasir Qazi and Shahbaz Younas and forward Muhammad Adil, who replaced Denmark-based forward Naweed Bashir at the forward line.

It was a tough opening half for the home side as they struggled to break the crowded defence of Pakistan, led by the tall Zeshan Rahman and Naveed Ahmad, who marked Sufil like it was their only job on the pitch.

Pakistan’s defensive strategy, with an eye on the counter attack, troubled the host’s defence only once early in the game but Sohel used his height with a spectacular save to rescue the host. Denmark-based striker Muhammad Ali, who scored the winner against Nepal, met a long cross at the top of the penalty area before Sohel tipped away the looping header for a corner.

Jamal Bhuiyan-led Bangladesh midfield kept possession but found it harder to roll the ball forward into the opponent’s terrain. Youngsters Saad Uddin and Masuk Miah Joni could only try their luck with a couple of long-range efforts, but those went in vein.

The second half was no different at the beginning but the home side came up with a bit more purpose and started to gather momentum with the game nearing the end. Sohel made yet another brilliant save 10 minutes after resumption, and this time too it was Ali who was thwarted. 

Ali skipped past Tutul Hossain Badshah to break into the left side of the box before his shot was saved at the near post. In the 58th minute, Biplo Ahmed tried his luck with a powerful strike from 25 yards out after Bishwanath Ghosh’s long throw-in but his effort was saved by the keeper.

The host were all over the opponent in the last 10 minutes. Topu had a great chance in the 83rd minute when Mamunul’s low corner met him in the near post but the defender’s effort was blocked.

Topu finally gave the men in red and green the deserved winner five minutes before the end of stipulated time, leaving the sizeable crowd in sheer joy. Another long throw-in by Bishwanath was deflected at the near post and fell in front of Topu, who just used his body to push the ball home at the far post.

Topu, who also scored against Bhutan, later informed that it was their plan to get the best out of Bishwanath’s long throw-ins, among which four were earlier blocked by the tall and strong Pakistan defenders.  

Bangladesh starting XI

Shahidul Alam Sohel; Waly Faisal, Topu Barman, Tutul Hossain Badshah, Bishwanath Ghosh; Mamunul Islam, Jamal Bhuiyan, Masuk Miah Joni, Biplo Ahmed (Emon Mahmud - sub), Saad Uddin; Mahbubur Rahman Sufil (Shakhawat Hossain Rony - sub)

RESULT

Bangladesh 1 (Topu 85) 0 Pakistan


Bangladesh    Stats        Pakistan

12        Shots        6

2        Shots on target 3

60        Possession %    40

403        Passes        277

71%        Pass accuracy    64%

14        Fouls        17

2        Yellow cards    1

1        Offsides    2

1        Corners    3