Bangladesh registered a 3-1 victory over Bhutan in their final Group B match of the Bangabandhu SAFF Championship 2023, at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Wednesday.Bangladesh, who finished second in the group, will face Group A toppers Kuwait in the semi-finals, on July 1. India will play Lebanon in the other semi-final on the same day.
It was a good contest, as both sides played their hearts out and displayed the vigour to churn out a positive result. Bhutan drew the first blood in the 12th minute, thanks to Tsenda Dorji’s wonderful strike from outside the box. The No. 20 saw the perfect opportunity to shoot and did so with the utmost perfection, beating Bangladesh goalkeeper Anisur Rahman from a distance.
The goal lifted Bhutan’s spirits as they continued to press forward. Nima Wangdi almost doubled their lead in the 17th minute when he dribbled past two Bangladesh defenders and went for a strike from a distance. His towering shot, unfortunately for Bhutan, could only rattle the crossbar.
On the other end, the Bengal Tigers didn’t let their intensity levels go down and kept pushing for the equaliser. Finally, they restored parity in the 21st minute when Shekh Morsalin struck powerfully with his left foot to beat Bhutan custodian Gyeltshen Zangpo from the edge of the box.
Bangladesh went on to take the lead 10 minutes later. Rakib Hossain attempted to pass Morsalin’s cross inside the box, but the ball deflected off defender Phuntsho Jigme and landed straight into his own goal.
The Bengal Tigers’ confidence shot up after taking the lead as they dominated the game and produced waves of attacks. In the 36th minute, Rakib Hossain displayed individual brilliance to help Bangladesh go up 3-1. The No. 10 went solo from the right side and struck from an acute angle. The ball hit the inside of the far post and nestled into the back of the net.