Hosts Bangladesh will take on Palestine today (Wednesday) in the second semifinal match of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup at Birshrestha Ruhul Amin Stadium, Cox,s Bazar. The match will kick off at 2:30 pm. The winner of today’s match will take on Tajikistan who have already qualified for the final after beating Philippines by 2-0 in the first semifinal yesterday.
It will be a difficult match for Bangladesh as Palestine are the only unbeaten team in the tournament. In terms of quality and players they are ahead of Bangladesh. Bangladesh need to approach the game with a perfect game-plan against Palestine as they are strong, quick and tactically sound. However, Bangladesh have already beaten a higher ranked team Laos during the group phase so anything is possible. Despite losing, the men in Red and Greens were impressive against Philippines in the last group stage match.
In the match against Laos in Sylhet, Prolific winger and local boy Biplo Ahmed scored the winning goal and created hype. Now the local boys from Cox’s Bazar will be hoping to replicate the same feat that Biplo achieved against Laos. Striker Touhidul Alam Sabuj, Mohammad Ibrahim, Sushanta Tripura and goalkeeper Anisur Rahman Zico are the local players. They all are excited and hoping to get selected in the starting lineup to give their best against Palestine.
Sushanta Tripura, Towhidul Alam Sabuj and Mohammad Ibrahim all featured in the match against Philippines. Regular starters Mahbubur Rahman Sufil and Bishwanath Ghosh were rested for the semi. Striker Ibrahim came off the bench to feature for the last 20 minutes. Sushanta and Ibrahim’s exquisite performance caught everyone’s eyes and was applauded by the coach.
“As it’s my home ground, I can’t wait to take to the pitch. No matter how much playing time I get, I want to utilise my chances to play the final in Dhaka,” said Ibrahim after their Monday’s training session.
Meanwhile, head coach Jamie Day fell sick on Monday while travelling to the training ground.
He was later taken to a hospital and team manager Satyajit Das Rupu informed that Jamie is fine and expected to recover soon. So the players trained under Assistant coach Stuart Watkis.
Palestine players are physically much stronger than Bangladesh players, therefore during the training session team management emphasized on ball possession. Palestine players are quick and very skillful. Keeping ball possession is vital against this kind of teams as they
can cancel opposition out anytime. Bangladesh players should also be aware of Palestine counter attacks.
Palestine’s route to the semis was smooth and trouble-free. They maintained an unbeaten run by beating Tajikistan 2-0 and also beating holders Nepal by 1-0.