ANI Photo | SAFF Championship: Bangladesh keep hopes alive with 3-1 victory over Maldives

Bangladesh came from a goal down to register a 3-1 victory over Maldives in the Bangabandhu SAFF Championship, Group B match at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday.
After having lost the first match against Lebanon, the team from Dhaka was desperate for three points to stay afloat in the tournament.
Now with three points from two matches, they are very much in contention for a spot in the semi-final, according to
The Maldives too have three points from two matches by virtue of the win against Bhutan.
The Bengal Tigers looked strong from the beginning as they dominated the game in the opponents’ half. However, despite making a few attempts to penetrate through the Maldives defence, the team couldn’t find the target.
On the other end, Maldives played on the counter, but couldn’t produce any dangerous attacking moves. Yet, to Bangladesh’s surprise, the island nation went on to take the lead in the 18th minute. It was a brilliant move that began from the right flank. Mohamed Irufaan passed the ball to Hamza Mohamed near the edge of the box and the striker drove it in perfectly into the bottom right corner.
The scoreline didn’t justify the trend of the match, as Bangladesh continued to hold the majority of ball possession and showed some good passages of play. In the 34th minute, the men in green had a golden opportunity to equalise from a corner. However, Topu Barman’s headed attempt was blocked by the Maldives defence and in the end, it came to nothing.
Nevertheless, Bangladesh continued to push for an equaliser and eventually, their efforts paid dividends in the 42nd minute. An incoming aerial delivery was headed inside the box by Barman once again and an unmarked Rakib Hossain directed it towards goal to make it 1-1.
Bangladesh continued to produce waves of attacks following the restart as they looked determined for full points. In the 67th minute, substitute Shekh Morsalin went for a shot from outside the box. Unfortunately, the ball deflected off a Maldives defender and went off the right post. The resultant corner, however, caused a melee inside the box and to Bangladesh’s delight, Tariq Raihan Kazi managed to put the ball in.
At the stroke of 90 minutes, Shekh Morsalin found the breakthrough on the counter-attack. The substitute attacker displayed fine skills to beat a Maldives defender and lashed home to make it 3-1 and put the game to bed.
In their final group stage game, Bangladesh will face Bhutan, while Maldives go up against Lebanon on June 28.

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