Hosts Bangla­desh will take on Philippi­nes today (Friday) in their second group B match of Bangabandhu International Gold Cup at Sylhet District Stadium, Sylhet. Both teams will fight today for group supremacy. The match is scheduled to begin at 6:30 pm. State-owned Bangladesh Television and private tv channel Maasranga will telecast live while Bangladesh Betar will stream live commentary.
Both Bangladesh and Philippines have already qualified for the semifinal phase of the tourney after Laos lost both of their group stage matches against Bangladesh and Philippines respectively. So this match will be like a dress rehearsal for both the teams. Both coaches have great opportunity to experiment with the squad and prepare their teams for the semi-finals.
Local boy Biplu Ahmed’s header was the difference in the first match against Laos. The 19-year-old prolific winger will be looking to contribute for the team and add more goals to his tally. Philippines players on the other hand will also be full of confidence as they thumped Laos by 3-1 in their last match. Bangladesh defenders should be aware of forward Jovin Bedic and Javier Augustine Gayoso who scored one goal apiece, in the last match against Laos.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh goal-keeper Ashraful Islam Rana looked a bit shaky in the opening match against Laos.
However, the 30-year-old goal-keeper said he does not want to repeat the mistake that his substitute goal-keeper Shahidul Alam Sohel made against Nepal during the SAFF Championship last month.
The exclusion of Sohel came for his terrible blunder against Nepal in the SAFF Championship which effectively cost Bangladesh a place in the semi-finals. This however has paved the way for Rana to show his worth as the first-choice keeper in the ongoing tournament.
He will be hoping to rectify the mistakes he made in the first match and put in a strong performance against Philippines today’s match.
“I made a few silly mistakes in the first match against Laos. I watched video of those mistakes and I had a chat with the coach. The coach is helping me to rectify those mistakes,” said Rana after returning to training at the Sylhet BKSP on Wednesday. He is likely to be in the starting eleven for today’s match.

After the group phase, two semifinals will be held at the Bir Shrestha Ruhul Amin Stadium in Cox’s Bazar on October 9 and 10 and the final will commence at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka on October 12.

Talha Kamal