SAFF Suzuki Cup: Bangladesh dream shatter again losing to Nepal 0-2
Hosts Bangladesh’s dream shattered again in the seven –nation 12th SAFF Suzuki Cup as Nepal brought down high flying Bangladesh to the earth beating them by 2-0 goals in the last Group A match at the flood-light Bangabandhu National Stadium in the capital on Saturday.
This was the 7th times and the 4th times in a row that Bangladesh eliminated from the group stage of the SAFF Championship since its inception in 1993.
By virtue of the day’s well merited victory, Nepal smartly qualified for the semifinal as the Group A champions along with group runners-up Pakistan at the coffin of the home side.
Nepal, which yet to reach final of the SAFF championship since its inception in 1993, to play the first semifinal with Group ‘B’ runners-up either Maldives or defending champions India on September 15.
On completion of Group A matches, three teams –Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh have secured six points each, but by virtue of the better goal difference (6-2) Nepal emerged group champions, Pakistan finished group runners (5-2) scoring more goal the Bangladesh (3-2).
Bangladesh started their campaign in the tournament with a 2-0 win against Bhutan before a solitary goal victory against Pakistan while Nepal lost the first game 1-2 to Pakistan and returned to the race with a 4-0 goals win against Bhutan.
Experienced custodian Shahidul Alam Sohel was partly responsible for conceding the first goal in the 33rd minute as a long distance free kick of Nepalese striker Bimal Gharti Magar kissed the net slipping from grip from Bangladesh custodian, silencing the house-full local crowd.
Substitute forward Nawayuk Shreshtha sealed the fate of the match scoring the 2nd goal for Himalayan nation Nepal in the 90th minute by a right footed running placing shot from danger zone beating Bangladesh defender in speed (2-0) forcing home side to eliminate from group stage for the 4th successive occasion.
Bangladesh started the day’s campaign with an easy equation of making a draw against visiting Nepal in the last group match to confirm their semifinal berth but miserably failed achieve their goal giving an opportunity to Napal to earn a must-win match.
Coach Jamie Day’s boys’ started to play pressing game from the beginning while Nepal defenders tackling attacks one after another, building up a wall of four defenders and were attempting for quick counters.
Bangladesh missed the first attempt in the 16th minute as midfielder Mahbubur Rahman’s right footed shot from outside the box was blocked by the goalie, off captain Jamal Bhuyan’s pass.
Utilizing a cross off midfielder Nirajan Khadka, another Nepal midfielder Sunil Bal’s took a header from the center of the box in the 14th, but was went out to the right post.
Bangladesh spoiled an opportunity in the 27th minute as Waly Faisal’s left footed shot from outside the box went over the crosspiece from a direct free kick, which awarded for a handball committed by Nepal forward Bharat Khawas.
After a boost of taking 1-0 lead in the day’s match, Nepal took the first attempt in the 54th minute with Bharat Khawas left footed shot from the right side of the box, which was saved by goalie in the bottom left corner.
Bangladesh a chance in the 50th minute as Biplu Ahmed’s left footed shot from outside the box, off Mamunul Islam pass, was blocked by defender.
In the 63rd minute, Bangladesh midfielder Emon Mahmud took a right footed shot, off a Sohel Rana’s pass, from outside the box and was blocked by defender.
Shakhawat Hossain Rony failed to utilize a cross pass off Waly Faisal as in the 70th minute as his header from the centre of the box was went out edging a bit high of the crosspiece.
Rony again missed two successive attempts in the 78th and 80th minutes, as his left footed shot from outside the box went over the crosspiece, following his miscued header attempt from the centre of the box.
Bangladesh goalie saved the post in the 87th minute punching out Sunil Bal’s right footed shot from the right side of the box from the bottom left corner of the post.