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Bangladesh held by Afghans

13Bangladesh wrapped up their warm-up campaign for the Joint Qualifiers of the World Cup and the Asian Cup with a 1-1 draw against Afghanistan at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Tuesday.
The men in red and whites, who had lost against Singapore 1-2 on Saturday, took a fourth minute lead through veteran striker Zahid Hasan Emily, but conceded the equaliser in the second minute of stoppage time of the second half to share the spoils against the current SAFF champions, who are 34 places ahead of Bangladesh in the latest FIFA rankings.
The game started amid heavy rain and Bangladesh took the lead before the Afghans could even find their feet on the soggy pitch.
Skipper Mamunul Islam curled in a superb free-kick from the left edge of the box, which was headed from inside the six-yard box by the wily striker Emily.
Afghan goalkeeper M Fardin managed to get a hand on the ball, but failed to keep it from going over the line.  
The hosts continued in the attacking vein and caused a lot of trouble for the Afghan defence but the score-line remained unchanged throughout the first half.
With rain subsiding, the Afghans asserted their authority on the game in the second half and came close to an equaliser in the 52nd minute, but goalkeeper Russel Mahmud Liton kept the lead intact with a diving save.
At the other end of the pitch, Hemanta Vincent Biswas saw his glancing on a Mamunul cross go inches over the target.
Bangladesh coach Lodewijk de Kruif, who had made four changes to the starting eleven from the one that took to field against Singapore, continued his experimentation, making as many as five substitutions in the second half.
Among the substituted ones were skipper Mamunul, goalscorer Emily and striker Enamul Haque.
The hosts adopted a very defensive approach to see the clock run down, but as they were preparing to celebrate a hard-fought victory, substitute Afghan midfielder Esmat Shenwary dealt the crucial blow in the 92nd minute with a wonderful strike from 25 yards that gave Liton no chance to get to.
Bangladesh will take on Kyrgyzstan on June 11 and Tajikistan on June 16, both at the BNS, in their first two matches of the Joint Qualifiers.
Bangladesh: Liton; Yeasin, Topu, Nasir, Yeamin; Mamunul (Shahed), Jamal, Hemanta; Enamul (Komol), Jewel (Raju), Emily (Sabuz/Nasiruddin).