Palestine retained the title of Bangabandhu Gold Cup Football Tournament as they thrashed Burundi by 3-1 goals in the final of the sixth edition of the meet at Bangabandhu National Stadium in the capital on Saturday.
Forward Khaled Salem, midfielder Sameh Maraaba and forward Layth Kharoub scored one goal each for the champions while defender Ndikumana Asman scored the lone goal for Burundi.Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina distributed prizes among the winner and runner-up teams as chief guest of the prize giving ceremony.
The premier thanked the tournament organising committee for arranging the football meet on the eve of Mujib Barsho. She also greeted the champion, runner-up and all the participating teams.
State Minister for Youth and Sports Zahid Ahsan Russell, Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) President Kazi Salahuddin and other distinguished personalities were also present on the occasion.
The West Asian team emerged as the unbeaten champion of the meet for the second time. They reached the final beating Seychelles by 1-0 goal in the first semi-final and beat both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka by the same 2-0 goals in their Group A games.
Palestine emerged as the unbeaten champion in the last edition of the meet in 2018 as well beating Tajikistan by 4-3 goals in the tie-breaker.
Palestine were rewarded with a prize money of 30,000 USD while runner-up Burundi got 20,000 USD. Burundi forward Nshimirimana Jospin, who scored seven goals in the meet including two hat-tricks, won both the Golden Boot as the top goal-scorer, and Golden Ball as the most valuable player.Palestine goalkeeper Tawfiq Abuhammad clinched the Golden Gloves and Palestine Captain Sameh Maraaba adjudged the man of the match. Palestine also won the fair play award.
In the day’s final, Palestine scored three early goals in the first half. Forward Salem opened account from inside the box utilising a short pass from the playmaker Mohamed Darwish in the 3rd minute.
Just 6 minutes into the match, Palestine skipper Maraaba doubled the margin converting a half chance as Burundi goalkeeper Ndizeye Fales denied a direct corner kick by Mohmoud Abu Warda in the 10th minute.
In the 26th minute, forward Kharoub practically sealed the fate of the game scoring a sensational goal while his teammate Salem missed the first chance, off a pass from Darwish.
After conceding three early goals, Burundi came alive and started to play pressing football. Despite having 56 percent ball possession, the East African team failed to score goals. Forward Nshimirimana Jospin and midfielder Nkurunziza Yannick wasted two close chances in the first half.
After the half-time, Burundi had just two close chances. Forward Gasongo Benjamin wasted the first chance in the 54th minute. But defender Asman made no mistake to score the lone goal for his side utilising a pass from another defender Ngabonziza Blanchard in the 60th minute (3-1).