Home / Sports / Bangladesh storm into semis after 14-year

Bangladesh storm into semis after 14-year

Bangladesh qualified for the semifinals of the ongoing 2023 Bangabandhu SAFF Championship in style as they crushed Bhutan by 3-1 goals in their third and last match of Group B at Sree Kanteerava outdoor stadium in Bengaluru, India Wednesday night.

Bangladesh, who reached semifinals five times out of their thirteen appearances in this regional competition, last qualified for this stage in 2009. They were eliminated after losing to India by a 1-0 goal in the semifinals of the 2009 edition.

Bangladesh’s semifinals entry was almost confirmed earlier their match while Lebanon beat Maldives by 1-0 goal, riding on forward Hassan Ali Maatouk’s 23rd minute strike, in the day’s first match at the same venue.

The men in red and green just needed a draw against Bhutan. Even if they lost to Bhutan by 0-1 margin, they would have a chance to reach the semifinals leaving behind both Maldives and Bhutan based on the better goal difference in their head-to-head encounters.

Now in the semifinals Group B runners-up Bangladesh will meet Group A champions Kuwait while Group A runners-up India will host Group B champions Lebanon, both on July 1 at the same venue.

Head coach Javier Cabrera made two changes in his playing XI – defender Rahmat Mia and midfielder Shekh Morsalin came in the places of defender Tariq Raihan Kazi and midfielder Foysal Ahmed Fahim.

Midfielder Tsenda Dorji tried to ruin Bangladesh’s memorable victory in the 12th minute but youngster Morsalin ruined their celebration scoring an equalizer in the 22nd minute and then contributed in both rest of the two goals in the 30th and 35th minutes.

During the second goal, Morsalin sent a cross to Rakib inside the box, the forward tried to volley it back but the ball went to Bhutan’s Phuntsho Jigme who mistakenly buried it into own net.

Within five minutes, Morsalin again appeared on the scene when he delivered the ball from a counter attack to Rakib who extended the lead 3-1 and confirmed the memorable victory for the men in red and green with an angular shot to the far post.

The luck also favored Bangladesh because Bhutan’s Nima Wangdi’s long range shot deflected by the crossbar in the16th minute.

However, Bangladesh, who never tasted any defeat against Bhutan in SAFF events, were determined to win this match. They maintained the margin until the final whistle.

Bhutan made some efforts to return to the match in the second half but Bangladesh defenders held them strongly and gave no opportunity to ruin their celebration.

Meanwhile, the men in red and green started their campaign with the 0-2 goals defeat to Lebanon, but bounced back with the 3-1 goals win over Maldives.