Monday, April 22, 2024

Bahrain break hosts’ hearts

Scoring goals remained Bangladesh’s Achilles’ heel as the hosts bowed out of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup with a 0-1 defeat to the hands of Bahrain Under-23 team in the first semi-final in Dhaka on Monday.
Midfielder Ebrahim Alhooti broke the hearts of the hosts by scoring the all important goal in injury time of the first half after a poor clearance from goalkeeper Shahidul Alam Sohel.The hosts suffered a big blow when the in-form goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana was ruled out from the match with a toe injury just before the start of the game. As a result, Shahidul Alam Sohel had to stand between the sticks for the hosts.
Veteran striker Mithun Chowdhury started in place of out of form forward Nabib Newaz Jibon but seemed ineffective in the absence of winger Zahid Hossain, who was kicked out from squad on Sunday for breaching the team’s code on conduct.
Still Bangladesh, who were considered as one of the top favourites to win the title, did everything apart from scoring goals.
The hosts dominated the midfield, with midfielder Hemanta Vincent Biswas as the main orchestrator.
Throughout the game Bangladesh pressed hard in search of a goal but the Bahrain defence stood as a rock to deny all the hosts attacks.
Jamal Bhuiyan saw his effort from inside the box flew over the bar on a corner of Mamunul Islam in the 16th minute.
In the 41st minute, home keeper Sohel made a decent save to deny forward Anwar Ali’s free-kick from 25 yards out.
But the Sheikh Jamal keeper was responsible for conceding a silly goal in the added time of first half.
Midfielder Mohamed Alnaar provided a cross from the right flank but Sohel missed the flight and failed to properly clear the ball and Ebrahim headed home over the keeper on the rebound.
After conceding the goal, the hosts were desperate to level the margin but the forwards were not efficient enough to find that elusive goal.
Shakhwat Hossain Rony saw his diving header hit the side post following a decent cross of Mithun Chowdhury from the left flank in the 52nd minute.
The forward was responsible for his poor finishing in the 79th minute when he volleyed the ball wide of a cross from Rayhan.
After the defeat Bangladesh coach Maruful Haque took all the responsibility on his shoulders for the team’s failure of reaching the final but he also took a swipe on his charges for their weak mentality.
‘I found no improvement in their [players] mentality that they showed in the SAFF Championship and I’m taking all the responsibility for the defeat’, said Maruf in the post match press briefing.
He also said that due to injury of some players he could not field his best XI and he wants to leave the post of the national team to continue with the club job.
‘Many injuries ahead of today’s match didn’t allow me to field the best eleven. The players tried their best and failed’, he said.
‘I was only appointed for Bangabandhu Gold Cup. Now I want to return to the club. I don’t want to continue with the national team.’
RESULT
Bangladesh 0 v Bahrain Under-23 team 1 (Ebrahim Alhooti 45+)

-With New Age input

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