Hosts down but not out

January 31, 2015

Bangladesh national football team left Sylhet on Friday dejected but determined to make it to the semi-final of the Bangabandhu Cup by beating Sri Lanka in their final group-A match on February 2. The 0-1 defeat against a youthful Malaysian side on Thursday left the home side in a must-win situation against Sri Lanka who take on Malaysia today at the Sylhet District Stadium.
Dutch coach Lodewijk De Kruif’s charges were surprised to see their opponents doing things what they wanted to do in the field.
Bangladesh took the field with a plan to play pressing football from the beginning but they could not do so as the young Malaysian side took the same strategy to put them under pressure.
The home side caved in under sustained pressure and had the woodwork to thank for not conceding two to three goals in the first 30 minutes.
Captain Mamunul Islam admitted they were outthought by Malaysia.
‘We were really surprised to see them playing pressing football,’ Mamunul told reporters before leaving hotel for Dhaka on Friday.
‘We had no idea about their [Malaysia] strength before the game but they took the field with a complete analysis about our team.’
Mamunul also said that they faced Malaysia with a new strategy, something they could not adapt to.
‘In recent matches, we played counter attack based football by keeping our post secured but against Malaysia we tried to play all-out football,’ he said.
Mamunul shouldered some responsibilities in a bid to allow his team-mates to stay upbeat ahead of next match.
‘The result made me sad but as captain I tried to boost my team-mates by taking all the responsibilities,’ said the 28-year old midfielder.
‘I personally talked to my team-mates after the defeat and inspired them for the next match.
‘I told them to forget the past and overcome the frustration to give the best in the next game because to give the best you have to keep your mind free.’
The captain believed they would have played better if they were given more opportunities to train at the Sylhet venue before the tournament.
‘We had our preparation camp at the BKSP where the surface was slow but we had to play on such a hard and speedy pitch here, which may have cost us,’ he said.
Right winger Zahid Hossain, who proved his worth once again with his extraordinary performance, admitted that the midfielders failed to their respective job in the field.
‘I personally think that we lost the game due to not taking the control of the midfield,’ Zahid, who initiated group of chances that went in vain due to lack of quality finishing.
Zahid is also searching an answer as to why his team-mates took so much pressure on them.
‘I don’t know why we were getting nervous,’ said a disappointed Zahid.
‘Everything was is our favour as we played in front of our own fans, we played in our own field but we turned them into a pressure instead making them as an inspiration. It’s really unfortunate.’
Zahid, however, is confident of beating Sri Lanka in the last group match.
‘We will have no rights to play the game if we fail to beat Sri Lanka,’ he said.

-With New Age input

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