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Bangladesh earn 1-1 draw against Maldives in WC qualifier

A dramatic goal by M Saad Uddin in the dying moment guided Bangladesh to stay in the race playing 1- 1 draw with hosts Maldives in the Asian Qualification Round-1 match of the FIFA World Cup’ 2026 at the National Stadium in Male on Thursday.

With the day’s precious draw with an away goal, Bangladesh have a fair chance to qualify for the group stage of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers beating the Maldives in the home match on October 17 at the Bashundhara Kings Arena in Dhaka.
The day’s match was locked in a goalless position in the first half, reports the United News of Bangladesh.

Forward Hassan Nazeem put the host Maldives ahead in the 87th minute by a placing shot, utilizing a lapse of Bangladesh defender Tariq Kazi, brightening their chance to qualify for the next round of the World Cup.

But, Bangladesh’s substitute player Mohammad Saad Uddin destroyed the home team party scoring the match equaliser in the very 2nd minute of the added time (90+2 minute) by a placing shot, off a Rakib Hossain pass amid huge frustration of local fans (1-1).

After the goal, Saad Uddin was cautioned with yellow card for removing his Jersey.

Earlier, Foysal Ahmed Fahim of Bangladesh spoiled the golden opportunity to score in the 40th minute of the match as he failed to score with nice gap from the danger zone.

Later, Rakib Hossain also missed a good chance.

Earlier, Bangladesh and Maldives faced each other on 16 times since 1984 where Bangladesh won seven matches against the Maldives six win. The rest three matches ended in draw

In the last meeting, Bangladesh beat the Maldives by 3-1 goals in the last SAFF Championship held in the Indian city of Bengaluru in June this year.

Bangladesh never beat their upper ranked Maldives on their home soil in the last 23 years since 2000 when they played 1-1 draw with the Maldives in the Golden Jubilee Tournament in Male.

Bangladesh suffered four consecutive defeats against the Maldives from December 2011 to October 2021, before beating the Maldives by 2-1 goals in the Mahinda Rajapaksa Cup Football in Colombo in November 2021.

Bangladesh suffered their biggest 0-5 goals defeat against the Maldives in the FIFA International Friendly Football in 2016 and conceded 0-2 goals defeat each in the SAFF Championship in 2021 and in an friendly match in 2022, all in Male

However, the recent performance of Bangladesh is encouraging as they won two matches in last four meetings against the Maldives since 2021, featuring a 3-1 victory in the SAFF Championship in Bengaluru last June.

Bangladesh team is badly needed win in the two-match home and away series against the Maldives, not only to reach the group stage of the FIFA World Cup’2026, but also to avoid possible ban that deprived Bangladesh to play any FIFA/AFC international matches for about one year.

Earlier, Bangladesh were also deprived of playing international football matches for one and half year after losing to Bhutan by 1-3 goals in their return-leg play-off match of the AFC Asian Cup in Thimphu in 2016.

Despite the absence of three vital players — number one goal keeper Anisur Rahman Zico, reliable defender Topu Barman and promising striker Shekh Morsalin for club suspension, Bangladesh team fought hard with the hosts and settled for 1-1 draw..

Earlier, Bangladesh played a two-match FIFA Tier-1 International Friendly Football series against their 32 ranked upper Afghanistan as as part of their preparation for the FIFA World Cup preliminary against the Maldives and settled for draw in the series with goalless affairs in the first match and 1-1 draw in the tense-packed 2nd match, both at the Bashundhara Kings Arena in Dhaka last month.