SPORTS DESK : 25 JUNE, 2023, 8:59 PM
Despite a fighting performance, Bangladesh started SAFF Bangabandhu Championship campaign with a losing note when they suffered a 0-2 goal defeat to superior Lebanon in their opening group B match held today (Thursday) at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bangaluru, India.
There is huge difference in terms of strength between Bangladesh and Lebanon. Bangladesh is 93 steps behind than Lebanon in the ranking. A draw against Lebanon would be a huge achievement for Bangladesh. So, it cannot be said that Bangladesh played very badly in such a big match.
Lebanon were clearly been the better side in the proceeding in terms of possession and nature of chances created, but Bangladesh fought neck to neck with Lebanon and kept the middle east nation at bay till the 80th minutes.
Though Bangladesh could not save the match and ultimately conceded two goals due to the mistake of defense.
The first half was an uninspiring affair with both teams looking to break the deadlock in their passing though the better chances went Lebanon’s way.
As the second half progressed, Lebanon were desperate to find the goal creating series of scoring chances. Bangladesh goalkeeper Anisur Rahman Zico was superb under the bar as he foiled number of Lebanon’s attacks brilliantly.
Lebanon could not create opportunities in the first half because Bangladesh were on the defensive from the start trying to contain the Middle East nation.
Lebanon’s substitute midfielder Hassan Maatouk finally broke the stalemate in the 79th minute taking opportunity off a misplaced pass in the midfield. The two forward entered into D box and Hassan Maatouk perfectly executed it giving no chance to helpless Anisur Rahman Zico.
Bangladesh were searching for an equaliser, but it was striker Khalil Bader capitalized on a counter-attack to give Lebanon their second goal in the dying moment putting the result beyond all doubt.
Before conceding the two goals, Bangladesh created a golden chance through the right flank when Faisal Ahmed Fahim found himself through on goal but he could only aim the shot straight to the custodian.
Bangladesh who placed in Group B of the SAFF Championship with Bhutan and Maldives and Lebanon will play their second group match against Maldives on Sunday (June 25) and then face Bhutan on June 28 in the same venue. -BSS
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