Bangladesh Under-23 national football team kept their hopes alive of qualifying for the second round of the Asian Games when they played out a 1-1 draw against Thailand in their second match of Group B in West Java, Indonesia on Thursday.
After a barren first-half, forward Mahbubur Rahman Sufil gave Bangladesh the lead in the 52nd minute before Chaided Supachai levelled the margin in the 80th minute to help Thailand earn their second successive draw.
This was Bangladesh’s first ever draw in their 24th match in the Games history against three wins and 20 defeats.
The most recent meeting between the senior sides of the two teams was a FIFA friendly in Bangkok in 2012, where Bangladesh suffered a huge 0-5 defeat.
Bangladesh senior side, however, beat Thailand Under-23 team 1-0 in the third Bangabandhu Gold Cup International tournament in 2015.
Bangladesh, who started their campaign with a 0-3 defeat against Uzbekistan, will qualify for the next round if they beat Qatar in their last group match and Thailand lose to Uzbekistan.
Qatar, the hosts of 2022 World Cup, went out of contention after they lost to Uzbekistan 0-6 in the day’s second match.
Bangladesh, who played Thailand aiming for at least one point, largely dominated the first half, when the opponents had 73 per cent possession of the ball, yet the charges of Jamie Day created some scoring chances.
Sufil wasted the first chance in the very eighth minute when he found Thailand keeper alone in a one-on-one position, but his shot from inside the box was blocked by the onrushing Thai keeper.
Sufil wasted another opportunity in the 36th minute. After receiving a pass from Biplo Ahmed inside the six-yard box, Sufil hit the ball straight to the keeper.
However, the young forward atoned for his previous mistakes giving the side the lead against the run of play in the 52nd minute.
Bishwanath Gosh provided long throw-in and defender Tapu Barman headed the ball to Sufil, who calmly placed the ball home past Thai keeper.
Bangladesh became defensive after taking the lead that offered Thai attackers more rooms and eventually they got the equaliser in the 80th minute.
Bangladesh keeper Ashraful Islam Rana was also responsible for the goal as he failed to grip a long range cross of Buran Chaiyawat from the right flank and Sookjitthummakul Phitwat set up the ball to Supachai, who made no mistake to find the back of the net.
Bangladesh’s English head coach Day refused to blame his charges for their ultra-defensive approach after taking the lead.
‘I think we continued to work hard and tried to score another goal,’ Day told New Age on Thursday.
‘I’m really happy with the boys. The performance was fantastic and everyone performed brilliantly.’
Day also praised his players for keeping the team in the competition.
‘We are still in the competition which is a credit to the players,’ he said.
Bangladesh Under-23 1 (Mahbubur Rahman 52) v Thailand Under-23 1 (Chaided Supachai 80)
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