After the stipulated and extra 30 minutes ended goalless thanks to Tajikistan goalkeeper Rizoev Rustam, it was rather Palestine custodian Rami Hamada who eventually stole the show with a couple of brilliant saves in the penalty shootout that earned his side their third ever silverware in an international event
Palestine emerged as the new champion of the six-nation Bangabandhu Gold Cup in their debut appearance in the tournament after beating 10-man Tajikistan 4-2 in the tiebreaker in an exciting final at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka Friday evening.
After the stipulated and extra 30 minutes ended goalless thanks to Tajikistan goalkeeper Rizoev Rustam, it was rather Palestine custodian Rami Hamada who eventually stole the show with a couple of brilliant saves in the penalty shootout that earned his side their third ever silverware in an international event.
This was the first time both the finalists participated in the biggest tournament organised by the BFF and also the first instance of all the participating countries sending their senior national team for its fifth edition, taking its standard even above the recently concluded Saff Championship.
The participation of 100th-ranked Palestine and 120th-ranked Tajikistan, along with 114th-ranked Philippines, raised the standard of the tournament than all of its previous editions where the top-ranked sides used to send their junior squads.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina watched the grand finale from the stands before handing over prizes among the new winner.
Palestine have proved in all of their matches why they were considered favourite prior to the tournament.
As part of their preparation for the Asian Cup next year, the Palestine side, led by an Algerian coach, tried two different starting XIs in the group stage matches before outplaying host Bangladesh in the last four.
Football, a symbol of peace for Palestine https://t.co/VK6urBGnsp— Dhaka Tribune Sports (@Sport_DT) October 2, 2018
The young #footballers of #Palestine have taken the game as the symbol of their protest and want to disseminate the message of #peace through it.
Despite Bangladesh’s exit, there was a decent number of spectators on the galleries.
Around 15,000 people watched the game, majority of whom initially supported Palestine before some of them shifted their choice to Tajikistan after the latter were reduced to 10 men.
The two sides faced each other in the group phase with Palestine winning comfortably 2-0.
Tajikistan made a couple of changes in defence from that game and carried their fine form from the semi-final to the final.
Five changes were made from the semi-final by Noureddine Ould Ali while Tajikistan kept the starting XI unchanged from their win over Philippines.
Palestine remained solid at the back and sound in midfield but their forwards were denied by an outstanding display by Rustam.
Tajikistan on the other hand continued with their fighting spirit, despite being reduced to 10 men in the 36th minute, and it was none other than their captain and one of tournament’s top performers, Fatukhulloev Fatkhullo.
Tajikistan piled pressure in the early stages but there were no prominent attacks from any of the sides until the 23rd minute when Rustam made a spectacular save to deny Helal Mousa’s powerful right-footer from just outside the box.
Palestine coach praises Bangladesh team https://t.co/YsK51PVHUU#Palestine went through to the final of #BangabandhuGoldCup 2018 by beating #Bangladesh in the semifinal in Cox’s Bazar but their coach praised the fight of the hosts after the game— Dhaka Tribune Sports (@Sport_DT) October 10, 2018
Mousa created another big chance two minutes later with a fine through pass for Khaled Salem whose chip from inside the box hit the sidepost.
At the half hour mark, Batran Islam unleashed a powerful grounder from 30 yards away but Rustam made a flying left-hand punch to parry the threat away for a corner.
Skipper Fatkhulloev received a straight red card after getting engaged in a physical clash with Palestine forward Sameh Maraaba for a risky foul during a counter attack through the left side.
Rustam made another superb save in the 57th minute when Abdullah Jazer’s left footed strike from the left side of the box was punched away once again for a corner.
Tajikistan fought bravely despite being reduced to 10 men and went close to scoring in the 74th, 76th and 82nd minute but their best opportunity perhaps came in injury time.
Abdugafarov Oibek replaced Rasulov Khikmatullo in the 90th minute and slid the ball onto the path of Bozorov Dilshod, who replaced Ergashev in the 67th minute.
Dilshod failed to connect from the middle of the box.
Palestine knock-out gritty Bangladesh in Gold Cup https://t.co/Pd0G1QAO1M#Bangladesh put up yet another brave display against a much stronger and more physical #Palestine side to conclude their #BangabandhuGoldCup 2018 campaign with a 2-0 defeat in the second semi-final— Dhaka Tribune Sports (@Sport_DT) October 10, 2018
There was no notable attack in the 30-minute added time except for one in the 120th minute when Palestine substitute Dabbagh’s header flew inches over the bar following a headed pass from Abdallatif.
Rustam suffered an injury to be taken away after the action and replaced by Khairiev Behruz.
Palestine’s Jonathan Zorrilla, Mahmoud Aliwisat, Musab Battat, Abdallatif all converted their chances from the spot while their Hamada denied Tursunov Komron and Tabrezi Davlatmir with two fine saves.
Hamada was adjudged the best player of the final while Komron received the Golden Boot for being the tournament’s top-scorer.
Palestine captain and defender Abdallatif Albahdari, who started all four games in the Bangabandhu Gold Cup, became the best player of the tournament.
Bangladesh won the fair play trophy while Biplo Ahmed was named the best young player of the tournament.
Palestine 0 0 Tajikistan
Palestine won 4-2 on penalties