Both the sides are ranked close to each other in the Fifa ranking, and also fought neck-and-neck in the last two matches, but Philippines came out as the winner on both the occasions in the Asian Cup qualifiers, thus sealing qualification
Philippines will be looking forward to carrying on their good memories from the Asian Cup qualifying campaign when they face familiar foe Tajikistan in the first semi-final of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup at Bir Sreshtha Ruhul Amin Stadium in Cox’s Bazar Tuesday.
Humidity with regards to the kick-off time of 2:30pm resulting from the unavailability of flood-lights would be a concern for both the sides, especially Tajikistan, who are more accustomed to playing under cooler weather.
“We felt these difficulties once we stepped out of the plane Sunday. The humidity is high and the playing time is at difficult time. It’s gonna be tough game for us. We have to adapt with this condition. But the condition is same for both the teams,” admitted Tajikistan skipper Fatkhulloev Fatkhullo at the pre-match press conference Monday.
Both the sides are ranked close to each other in the Fifa ranking, and also fought neck-and-neck in the last two matches, but Philippines came out as the winner on both the occasions in the Asian Cup qualifiers, thus sealing qualification.
The first leg in Tajikistan ended in a seven goal thriller [4-3] last year while the second leg saw Philippines come from behind to win [2-1].
Cox’s Bazar is almost ready to host international football after eight years as the two semi-finals of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup are all set to be held on consecutive days at the oldest stadium of the district named after Bir Sreshtha Ruhul Amin.https://t.co/j1oKDxIBZ2#GOLDCUP— Dhaka Tribune Sports (@Sport_DT) October 7, 2018
Philippines captain Misagh Bahadoran said, “They are strong, fast and very good tactically. They will give us a hard time. In the last game they were leading 1-0 in the first half and then we beat them 2-1. I’m sure they are more motivated to get back to us because they lost the last games. This time they want to win the game.”
Tajikistan head coach Tukhtaev Alisher also expects a tough test from the opponent.
“We are well aware of our opponent. We know their strength but we want to play the final, so we will do our best. None of us have the best squad here, so it will be an interesting match.”
There are only five players in Tajikistan’s current squad from the Asian Cup qualifiers squad. Defender Bakhtiyor Qalandarov, who suffered a head injury during their last group stage game against Palestine, has been ruled out of the squad.
Philippines held their final training session at the BGB ground while Tajikistan trained at the match venue Monday afternoon.