An underwhelming Bangladesh women’s football team blanked Bhutan 2-0 in their first match of the SAFF Women Championship 2019 to qualify for the semi-final of the tournament in Nepal on Wednesday.
Mishrat Jahan Moushumi and Sabina Khatun struck in the second half after Bangladesh made a slow start to the campaign at Sahid Rangashala, Biratnagar, 240km south of Kathmandu.
The win also confirmed the semi-final berth of hosts Nepal from three-team Group A as they defeated Bhutan 3-0 earlier in the opening match of the tournament.
‘We are now in the semi-final and have achieved our objective. I am very proud of our achievement,’ said Bangladesh coach Golam Rabbani Choton.
Bangladesh put an unconvincing show in goalless first half in which their only chance came in 23rd minute when Bhutan goalkeeper Sangita Monger blocked a feeble attempt of Sirat Jahan Shopna.
They, however, did not require to wait too long to break the deadlock in the second half as Moushumi put Bangladesh ahead in the 46th minute heading home from a goal-mouth melee once Bhutanese defenders failed to clear a corner kick of Monika Chakma.
Bangladesh had the chance to double the lead in 68th minute when Sabina Khatun fed Tohura Khatun with a perfect cross from the left-side, but the substitute forward failed to connect the ball with only goalkeeper Sangita to beat.
Sabina doubled the lead four minutes from the time placing the ball on the left side of the post after she sprinted into the box and squirmed past a defender.
‘Winning today’s match was important for us, because our semi-final was depending on this,’ said Mishrat Jahan Moushumi, the opening goal scorer of Bangladesh and also the vice-captain of the side.
‘From the start our girls dominated the play and tried to give their all. We scored two goals, but got a few more opportunities, which we could not use, Insallah we will try to play better against Nepal,’ she added.
Bangladesh and Nepal will now face off on March 16 for the group championship.
India, Maldives and Bhutan are competing in Group B.
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