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Bangladesh-Mongolia battle in Sylhet today 

Bangladesh will face East Asian nation Mongolia for the first time in 21 years when the two teams collide in a FIFA international friendly match at the Sylhet District Stadium today.

The match will begin at 5:30pm and satellite channel T Sports will televise the game live from the venue.

In the past, the two teams faced each other on two occasions in 2001 in the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifiers held in Damman, Saudi Arabia.

Bangladesh beat Mongolia 3-0 in their first meeting at the Prince Mohamed bin Fahd Stadium on February 12, 2001 before playing out a 2-2 draw at the same venue on February 19, 2001.

This will be a good chance for Bangladesh to return to winning ways at the international circuit after a 0-2 loss against Maldives in another FIFA friendly in Male on March 25 when Spanish coach Javier Cabrera made his debut.

Cabrera was disappointed with the loss against Maldives and upon the team’s return home on March 26 he talked to his charges about the mistakes that they made against the island nation.

The Spaniard, who had a two-day long training with the team, added that their strategy against the Mongolians will be completely different from the Maldives match.

‘Since we came back from Maldives, thinking our players. We had discussions about the last game…It (result) was a disappointment in the last match,’ said Cabrera in the pre-match press conference on Monday.

‘Yes, there will be different approaches…You will see the difference tomorrow [Tuesday]. We are ready to fight again to win.’

Bangladesh last won an international match against Maldives 2-1 in the four-nation tournament in Colombo in November 13, 2021.

Bangladesh captain Jamal Bhuiyan hopes to take advantage of the home crowd to win the game.

‘We all are disappointed with the defeat (against Maldives). But tomorrow, is an another game and we’ll have to take charge in this match. This is our home ground…And it’s our job to perform on the pitch,’ said Jamal.

Mongolia’s Japanese coach Ichiro Otsuka, who took charge of the team just a couple of months back, said he knew a very little about Bangladesh.

‘Our preparation is not so good. We don’t know much about Bangladesh. But this international game is very important for the preparation before our engagement in the Asian Cup 2022 qualifiers in June,’ said the visiting team coach.

Visiting team captain Tsend Ayush Khurelbaatar became nostalgic at the press conference and said that his country’s first point international football against Bangladesh in 2001 inspired him to become a footballer.

‘I was only 11 years old in 2001 when we earned the historic first international point against Bangladesh. I watched the game on television, which inspired me to become a footballer. That was a different night for every Mongolian,’ said the captain.

‘Now our target is to win the match tomorrow [Tuesday] and we are here to do that,’ he added.

The Mongolians, who had a week-long training session before arriving in Dhaka on March 26 and had a two-day training in Sylhet, are currently two-step ahead of Bangladesh (186th) in the current FIFA rankings.

The organisers allowed full capacity audiences for the match for the first time since the pandemic hit in the country in March 2020 and are expecting a full-packed venue with the capacity of 17,000.