Vol. 5 Num 694 Sat. May 13, 2006  

Bangladesh get better

Bangladesh put up a much better performance to record their second consecutive victory in the Jamuna Bank Asian Games Qualifying tournament when they blanked Sri Lanka 3-0 at the Maulana Bhasani National Stadium yesterday.

Maksud Alam Habul struck twice and Shamim Reza added the other in the second half as the home team managed the comfortable win after an unimpressive 3-2 success against Chinese Taipei in the opening game the day before.

Bangladesh looked well-organised against their South Asian opponents thanks to promising playmaker Rasel Mahmud Jimmy, who showed his maturity to be adjudged man-of-the-match.

Jimmy might not have scored any but he was not only instrumental, creating the chances for his partners but also played the pivotal role to keep the opponents defence busy all through the match.

From the very beginning Bangladesh raided the Sri Lanka fort but they failed to break the deadlock in the first half and it was custodian Willawarachachi who frustrated the hosts on most of the occasions.

They continued their dominance also in the second half but had to wait till the 53rd minute to take the lead through Habul's angular placing hit that came his way from a Jimmy pass.

After two minutes Jimmy and Habul pair placed the ball for Shamim who doubled the margin with a powerful hit from the right-flank which deflected from defender Abeyrathne stick before reaching the target.

Habul, who came as a substitute, then scored his second goal from a goalmouth melee to seal the margin in the 63rd minute.

Bangladesh coach Jamal Haider expressed his satisfaction over his boys performance in the second match in the competition.

"The team was well-organised in the match and boys played according to our plan. I was always confident that the boys will take the match home. Jimmy played brilliantly and he kept the opponents busy by attacking from the wing something that they (Sri Lanka) never expected," Haider said.

Admitting Bangladesh as the better side, Sri Lankan coach Mulaffin said that the long travel by road was the reason his boys failed to play their natural game.

"Bangladesh is a better side but we had a long journey to be here ... and we are yet to adjust to Bangladesh's condition," said Mulaffin.

After a day's break Bangladesh will take on Iran in their third game of the seven-team competition on Sunday at the same venue.

Meanwhile, Chinese Taipei strongly bounced back from their first match defeat against Bangladesh to outplay Singapore 4-0 and Hong Kong made a flying start with a 4-1 victory against Iran in the day's other matches at the same venue.

Chinese Taipei led the first half 1-0 through a Wang Jui-Hao 16th minute strike. Tang Chao-Sou struck twice and Yao-Wen Shih scored one in the second half.

On the other hand Hong Kong dominated the first half 2-0.

Asif Ali and Arif Ali scored apiece in the first half while Akbar Ali added one in the second half besides Asif's second one.

Siamak netted the only goal for Iran.

Bangladesh striker Maksud Alam celebrates after his double strike against Sri Lanka in the Asian Games Qualifying Round match at the Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium on Friday. PHOTO: STAR