A brace from Hemanta Vincent Biswas powered the national U-23 football team to an easy 3-1 win over the Bangladesh Army team in an Asian Games preparation match at the Army Stadium in Banani but Dutch coach Lodeweijk de Kruif is not happy with his defence, which came under huge pressure in the second half.
Kruif, who played his charges in the 4-3-3 formation for a majority of the SAFF Championship, has been trying to bring changes in his attacking formation with a counter-attack strategy in light of the stronger opponents of the Asian Games. Yesterday, he tried the 4-4-2 formation with a compact defence against the Army side with new inclusion Farhad playing as the defensive midfielder ahead of defenders Raihan Hasan, Kesto Kumar, Yeasin Khan and Yeamin Munna.
The organisation of the backline was impressive in the first half and the goalkeeper Rasel Mahmud Liton was not troubled but the backline looked very vulnerable in the second half amid the drizzle and the Army men even pulled one goal back at the start of the second half thanks to a fumble by defenders and the goalkeeper.
“The last 10 to 15 minutes the defenders were in trouble and conceded a goal. We also conceded a last-minute goal against India (SAFF Championship). It is a big concern for me. It is not only a question of 90-minute concentration. The players have to be focused and we have to train them (defenders) and make them ready mentally and physically. They are not ready yet,” said Kruif after the match.
In the diamond midfield formation, Shohel Rana and Hemanta were playing in the left and right positions respectively and captain Mamunul Islam was at centre point, keeping Wahed Ahmed and Aminur Rahman Sajib up front.
The midfield is not a concern for Kruif as he has the three best midfielders of the country at the moment and the inclusion of expatriate Jamal Hossain Bhuiyan, who is scheduled to join on September 3, will further strengthen the midfield.
“We don't have players like Robben who can trouble the opponents from the wing and we tried something new today with a 4-4-2 formation with a diamond midfield and they really played well in the first 45 minutes. It was important that they followed the disciplines that we taught them, which they did in the first half but the second half was difficult for them,” said Kruif.
Mohammedan midfielder Hemanta put the national side ahead in the 10th minute with a low drive from the edge of the box after Wahed Ahmed played a dummy over a Shohel Rana low cross from the left. Hemanta then doubled the lead two minutes later with an angular shot, availing a fumble by Army defender Apu, who failed to stop a forward pass from Wahed.
Wahed made it 3-0 two minutes before the break with a brilliant side-volley while Shakib pulled one goal back for the charges of former national striker Alfaz Ahmed eight minutes into the second half.
Kruif informed that he has almost confirmed 80 to 90 per cent players of his starting 11 and sent his final 20-member squad to the Bangladesh Football Federation.