Bangladesh sees first defeat in SAFF, loses to Maldives...

Dhaka, Tuesday   26 October 2021

Bangladesh sees first defeat in SAFF, loses to Maldives

 Sports Desk

 Published: 10:58 AM, 8 October 2021   Updated: 01:39 PM, 8 October 2021



Bangladesh tasted their first defeat as they went down a 2-0 goal defeat to host Maldives in their third match of the SAFF Championship held on Thursday night at National Football Stadium in Male, the capital of Maldives.

Despite the fourth consecutive loss to the Maldives, Bangladesh however, are still have chance to go to the final in the five-team table with four points from three matches. The Maldives, who were bottom of the table, moved a place up with three points from two outings.

Nepal dominated the table with six points from two matches. India and Maldives are also in the race, with two and three points respectively from two matches.

It was a do-or-die match for the Maldives against Bangladesh because they knew very well that it would be a quite tough task for them to stage a fightback in the tournament if they lose the important match to Bangladesh. But, Hamza Mohammad and Ali Ashfaq did not allow that to happen as the two Maldives forwards secured important victory and left the field with full three points for the Maldives.

Bangladesh, however, tackled well the Maldives in the first half by keeping the scoreline goalless, but in the second half, they failed to offer resistance against the hosts and conceded two goals.

After the resumption, Maldives continued their onslaught and Hamza Mohamed eventually provided the breakthrough in the 55th minute as he sent the ball home with an overhead bicycle kick.

Maldives doubled their lead through a counter-attack in the 74th minute as Sohel Rana dragged substitute Niaz Hossain down inside the danger zone and the referee pointed the spot-kick in favor of Bangladesh. Prolific Maldives striker Ali Ashfaq made no mistake to convert the spot.

Bangladesh, however, tried heart and soul to stage a fightback in the match but failed to reduce the margin in the remaining proceeding.

After the match, Bangladesh head coach Oscar Bruzon admitted that the host were “better than his team” throughout the 90-minutes and the main difference was energy.

He said the Maldives were much more energetic than his team because they found enough time as they played their last match five days ago while his team could not maintain the momentum as his boys played back-to-back matches in 72-hours.

The men in red and green will play their last match of the tournament against the Himalayas Kingdom Nepal on October 13 in the hope to qualify for the final.

Earlier, Bangladesh got off to a winning start in the tournament beating Sri Lanka by a 1-0 goal in their tournament-opening match and forced favorite India to play a 1-1 goal draw in their second match.