Youngster Mahbubur Rahman Sufil netted a brilliant goal as Bangladesh kicked off their Saff Championship 2018 campaign in style, beating Bhutan comfortably 2-0 in the day’s second Group A encounter at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka on Tuesday evening.
A report published in the Dhaka Tribune stated that it was sweet revenge for the men in red and green, who suffered a shocking defeat against the same opponent by a similar margin two years ago, which left Bangladesh with no international fixture in the next one year and a half.
The report further stated that Jamie Day kept his faith on the Asian Games performers and the youngsters repaid it with a solid and dominant display. As many as nine regular starters from the Asiad squad featured in the starting XI. The surprising change from the Asiad team was goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana, who made way for Shahidul Alam Sohel between the posts, while veteran full-back Waly Faisal replaced Sushanta Tripura at the left-back position.
Sufil, Saad Uddin, Biplo Ahmed and Masuk Miah Joni led the attacking front, like the four matches in Indonesia, while Jamal Bhuiyan and Atiqur Rahman Fahad kept their place in midfield. Topu Barman gave the home side the early breakthrough from a penalty with only three minutes into the clock. Bhutan forward Tshering Dorji pulled down Saad from a Waly free-kick and Sufil calmly sent the goalkeeper the wrong way from the spot.
Sufil had another chance four minutes later when the youngster ran free through the left flank after outpacing a couple of Bhutan defenders to break into the penalty area, but his final touch was blocked by the onrushing opponent keeper. Bangladesh went close to scoring twice more in the opening half and Biplo was on the front line on both the occasions. A superb through pass from Jamal in the 28th minute set up Biplo at the left side of the box but his shot was far away from the target. Seven minutes later, following a cutback from Sufil, Biplo shot over again with a curved effort from a similar position.
The home side appeared more attacking after resumption with Day strengthening his midfield by replacing Masuk with Emon Mahmud right at the start of the second half. Sufil delivered more reasons for the crowd to cheer about by doubling the lead two minutes into the second half. It was a spectacular right-footed volley by Sufil from the right side of the box that gave the Bhutan netminder no chance.
Sufil had his chance to bag his second in the 65th minute but the young striker sent the ball over from the top of the box after receiving a through pass from substitute Faisal Mahmud. Day made two more changes and both of them involved the veteran Faisal. The versatile midfielder, who was called up to the preliminary Bangladesh squad in their last Saff winning campaign in 2003, came off the bench to replace Saad in the 51st minute before being replaced by Mamunul Islam in the 83rd minute.