• Monday, Sep 24, 2018
  • Last Update : 02:31 am

Inspired Bangladesh keen to remain unbeaten

  • Published at 10:50 pm September 7th, 2018
Bangladesh
Bangladesh footballers train Friday in Dhaka under the watchful eyes of head coach Jamie Day Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik

Despite leading the group’s points table with maximum six points from two straight wins, the home side still have to look at the day’s first game from the same group between Bhutan and Pakistan

Bangladesh may face an equation dilemma in order to get through to the semi-final of the Saff Suzuki Cup 2018 but the host are confident of continuing their unbeaten run before facing Nepal in their final Group A encounter at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka Saturday.

The match kicks off at 7pm.

Despite leading the group’s points table with maximum six points from two straight wins, the home side still have to look at the day’s first game from the same group between Bhutan and Pakistan. All four teams, including Bhutan, who lost both their games, have the chance for the last-four mathematically.

Bangladesh’s semi-final berth could be confirmed even before their game kicks off if Bhutan earn at least a point from their last group match. Whatever happens in the first game, a draw against Nepal would be enough for the host to go through.

The men in red and green are the only side in the four-team group who are yet to concede a goal but the defence led by Topu Barman are likely to face tougher challenge to keep the clean-sheet against Nepal, who picked up a commendable 4-0 win over Bhutan in their last match.

Bangladesh’s coach Jamie Day was cautious as usual. 

“Nepal are a very good side, they are going to cause us problems. They were unlucky against Pakistan but they scored four goals against Bhutan. We know what’s at stake and we need to play well to go through. It is going to be really tour game,’ said the coach Friday. 

The workload is already taking the toll for the men in red and green as Saturday's match will be their third in just five days. Many fatigued players skipped practice Friday. 

Day gave rest to those XI booters who started against Pakistan in the previous game, along with injured midfielder Atiqur Rahman Fahad, but held a training session at Kamalapur Stadium in the afternoon with the other eight members of the squad.  

However, all the players enjoyed a swimming session at the team hotel in the morning.

Day was not content with the hectic schedule. “It’s a tough schedule for the boys. I have never seen anything like this where you get one day’s rest.”

Bangladesh will expect a lot more movements from their opponent than that of the Pakistan encounter but Day hinted no change in organisation from the last game.

“We are not going to change how we play. We go up to win the game. We make sure we are hard to beat as well and if we do that it obviously gives us chances to getting through,” said Day after the practice session Friday.

Bangladesh defeated Nepal in the early editions of the Saff Championship in 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2005 but lost the previous two meetings in the competition in 2011 and 2013. 

The last time both sides met each other was two-and-a-half years ago with the game ending in a goalless tie in the group match of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup in Dhaka.

Nepal head coach Bal Gopal Maharjan seemed more confident after the big win against Bhutan. “We have potential in the team that we can beat any opponent in the tournament. But it will be difficult against Bangladesh considering the home crowd. I have faith in my boys, if they play as a team, I hope, we win the game.”