Bangladesh Under-23 national football team drew the first blood in their two-match international friendly series against their Nepalese counterpart with a 1-0 win at the Army Stadium at Banani on Tuesday. Sohel Rana scored the all important goal for the hosts on the hour mark to give them a huge boost for the second and final match at the Sylhet stadium on August 29.
The Bangladesh Football Federation has arranged the second-tier international friendly series to help the Bangladesh Under-23 team prepare for the upcoming Asian Games, where they will face Uzbekistan, Hong Kong and Afghanistan in group phase.
The heavy downpour left the playing surface at the Army Stadium sluggish leaving it difficult for the visitors, who clearly struggled to cope with the wet condition.
The home side seized the control of the game from the very beginning using their experience of playing their last two warm-up matches at the same venue.
Toklis Ahmed created the first opportunity of the game in the third minute as the forward ran from the right flank to provide a low cross into the middle of the box for Wahed Ahmed, who was, however, not in the right place to connect the ball.
In the 14th minute, Hemanta Vincent’s beautifully placed shot from the outside of the box was brilliantly saved by Nepal keeper Alan Neupane for a corner.
Sohel Rana put the home side ahead in the 60th minute, when a Nepal defender failed to clear a Mamunul corner and the Sheikh Jamal midfielder blasted the ball into the left corner of the net.
After taking the lead, the home side went defensive which created some room for the visitors to create some attacks.
Substitute midfielder, Shyam Nepal had a glorious chance to equalise in the 64th minute but his poor effort was blocked by Bangladeshi defender Meshu.
In the 70th minute another substitute midfielder, Heman Gurung’s powerful attempt was parried to safety by Bangladeshi keeper Russell Mahmud Liton.
Bangladesh coach Lodewijk de Kruif, who returned from a vacation on Tuesday to take charge of the game, expressed his joy.
‘I’m very happy with the result which is very important for us. The players did very well especially in the first hour,’ said De Kruif.
De Kruif also thanked the nearly 10,000 football fans who gave their continued support to the home side during the match.
‘The crowd was great. They gave us the confidence.
‘I’m really happy with the development of the squad especially after seeing what Rene [assistant coach Reene Koster] did with them during my absence.
-With New Age input