Substitute player Mithun Chowdhury rescued Bangladesh with a 76th-minute strike as hosts held Malaysian XI Felda United by 1-1 in their second Bangabandhu Gold Cup match in Dhaka on Wednesday.
After a barren first-half, Muhammad Hadin put the visitors ahead in the 55th minute.
The result means, Bangladesh are now sharing the top spot of the Group A with four points along with Nepal, who beat Sri Lanka 1-0 in the day’s first game.
Malaysian XI have earned two points from as many games while SAFF Suzuki Cup semi-finalists Sri Lanka were crushed out of the tournament after Wednesday’s defeat.
The hosts could have fallen behind in the first half if goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana was not at his swashbuckling best playing in his first match of the tournament as he rescued them from conceding couple of goals.
Bangladesh coach Maruful Haque well judged his opponents strength and sent Rana in place of regular keeper Shahidul Alam Sohel to deal with their long range shooting.
The visitors were awarded a free-kick from 25-yard out and Rana dived to his left to deny Syahid Zaidon’s decent effort in the sixth minute.
The keeper made another good save two minutes later when he denied midfielder Ahmad Syamim Yahya’s 20-yard curving effort.
In the first half, Bangladesh struggled to control the midfield with the exception of captain Mamunul Islam, who showed his class in the 13th minute when his brilliantly taken free-kick hit the side post.
Rana rescued the hosts again in 33rd minute as he reacted sharply to deny captain Shukor Adan’s close-range header.
Shakhawat Hossain Rony wasted a bright chance to give Bangladesh a lead against the run of play two minutes later but the forward shot over the bar despite getting the Malaysian keeper Farizal Harun in one-on-one situation.
Malaysia could have taken the lead in the 41st minute when defender Fazly Alias saw his shot from 30-yard hit the woodwork.
Malaysia finally broke the deadlock in 55th minute when an unmarked Muhammad Hadin volleyed a cross of Hasni Zaidi Jamian from the left flank home.
Maruf made three changes after conceding the goal bringing in veteran Mithun for Hemantha Biswas after the hour mark.
Mithun repaid the coach with the 76th minute equaliser that came through a beautifully taken placing shot.
Bangladesh will face Nepal in their last group match on Friday.
In the day’s first match, Nepal took only four minutes to take the lead when defender Rabin Shrestha ran down the left flank and provided a neat cutback to Bimol Ghatri Magar, who placed the ball into the near post.
Bangladesh 1 (Mithun 76) v Malaysia XI 1 (Hadin 55);
Nepal 1 (Bimol Ghatri 4) v Bahrain 0
-With New Age input