Monday, 6 December, 2021

Bangladesh ready for India test in SAFF today

  • Sports Correspondent
  • 4 October, 2021 12:00 AM
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Bangladesh ready for India test in SAFF today
Bangladesh national football team players attend a practice session at Henveiru Training Pitch in Male on Sunday ahead of their SAFF Championship second match against India. – BFF PHOTO

Bangladesh are ready to seal their much-awaited victory against Indian counterparts in their second match of the ongoing SAFF Championship at National Stadium in Male, Maldives today.

The match kicks off at 5:00pm (BST).

The men in red and green last defeated India by 2-1 goals in the SAFF contest in the sudden death of the semifinals in 2003 in Dhaka. In the same edition, Bangladesh made history earning their maiden title beating the Maldives by 5 (1) -3 (1) goals in a tiebreaker of the final. 

After 2003, Bangladesh are yet to win against India in eight encounters on the international stage. India won four while the rest of the four matches ended in draws.

In their last two matches of FIFA, AFC joint qualifiers, the first match ended in a 1-1 draw in Kolkata in October 2019 while India won the second match by 2-0 goals in Doha last June.

However, both teams locked horns in nine matches of SAFF since their first met in the semifinals in 1995. Bangladesh won only one, drew three and lost five-match.

Bangladesh interim head coach Oscar Bruzon put his team ahead of Indian opponents in terms of confidence after getting off to a flying start in the tournament.

“They (India) are the most successful team of this tournament; they are favourites according to the FIFA rankings. I don’t come here to talk about them; rather we want to focus on our game. Tomorrow (Monday) we are gonna face a very tough game, we are ready for this,” Bruzon said in a press conference at FAM house in Male on Sunday.

“I never play for a draw. I don’t understand football about speculation and defencive game. We will try to grab three points from the very beginning of the match. The positive side is that we started with the win. The game is not gonna be by a big margin of scores, it will be decided by small details. Our boys are working hard on these. They will focus on 90 minutes in the game, and we are considering us as one of the best teams of the tournament,” Bangladesh coach added, who recently competed against two Indian clubs Bengaluru and Mohun Bagan in AFC Cup group phase.

Bruzon is well-aware of Indian captain Sunil Chhetri. Last time, he successfully averted Chhetri from being a threat for Bashundhara Kings during their AFC Cup match against Bengaluru.

Captain Jamal said that they want to repeat the game of Salt Lake in Male in 2019 where the hosts India narrowly escaped the defeat.  

“We are confident enough. We have a good group of players. Tomorrow we are gonna beat the guys who will play against us. Of course, we want to repeat the Salt Lake game here tomorrow,” Jamal said.

 Indian coach Igor Stimac believes that Bangladesh under a new coach must make things difficult for them, but he also thinks that Bruzon can’t make any big impact on their match as he doesn’t have foreign players.

“They (Bangladesh) are trying new things under a new a coach who uses a different style of playing. He (Oscar) has been trying to boost the confidence of his players (based on his pre-match comments). His (former) team did well in the AFC Cup – but this is a different space. There are no foreign players to help out in the SAFF Championship. If he thinks that his side are the tournament favourites, he might change his mind soon,” Stimac said.

 Stimac made a joke of Bangladesh’s penalty against Sri Lanka as he believed that Bangladesh enjoyed the referee’s favour.

“The penalty was funny because everything took place outside of the box, but the referee whistled for a penalty,” he concluded.  

Meanwhile, Nepal will take on Sri Lanka in the day’s another match at the same venue at 10:00pm (BST).