Holders Palestine will be looking to match the feat of Malaysia when they take on East African nation Burundi in the final of the sixth edition of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup in Dhaka today.
If Palestine retain the title they will be the second nation to win the title twice in the tournament as Malaysia Red and Malaysia Under-23 team won the titles in 1996 and 2015.
Japan Football League XI won the title in 1999 while Nepal won the trophy in 2016.
Palestine, ranked 106th in the current FIFA rankings, reached the final with a 1-0 win over Seychelles in the first semi-final while 151st ranked Burundi crushed hosts Bangladesh 3-0 in the other semi-final.
Burundi appeared to be the most attacking team in the tournament having scored 10 goals against conceding only two.
In teenager Nshimirimana Jospin they unveiled a brilliant scorer who struck seven goals, including two hat-tricks, one in the semi-final against Bangladesh.
Palestine on the other hand brought the best defense in the competition as they are yet to concede any goal so far and scored five goals.
These traits essentially made the final a battle between Burundi’s attack versus Palestine’s defense.
‘We know the final match will be difficult but we are ready for the final because we have come in Bangladesh to defend the title,’ said Palestine coach Makram Daboub at the pre-final press conference at the BFF House on Friday.
‘Burundi is a good and strong team and they have some skillful players. They have also tournament’s best attacking line up but they play individually,’ Makram said.
‘Palestine play as a group. We have also kept clean sheet in the last three matches. I believe in my players, who are focused on the match to win it.’
Burundi coach Bipfubusa Joslin believed that scoring a lot of goals in the previous matches would count as nothing if they fail to score in the final.
‘You should not count the scoring of the previous games. Scoring at the final match depends on how both sides play on the ground but we will definitely want to score more like what we did in this tournament,’ said Joslin.
Champions will bag a prize money of $30,000 while runners-up will team will pocked $20,000.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina will watch the final as chief guest and distribute prizes among the winners.
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