Rasel Mahmud Jimmy and Mamunur Rahman Chayan struck two goals each to power hosts Bangladesh to a 5-1 win over lightweights Fiji in the hosts' second match of Hockey World League Round-2 at the Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium yesterday.
The margin might give the impression of an emphatic win over the nation from Oceania, who had come into the match on the back of a 7-0 loss to Oman. In reality however, the home side toiled hard in the first two quarters before a strong showing in the last two quarters saw them notch up a relieving win after beginning their campaign with a 3-0 loss at the hands of Malaysia, the top-ranked side in the group.
The performance from Oliver Kurtz's charges was well below-par, especially in the attacking third and from penalty corners, evidenced by the fact that they created a lot of opportunities and won a total of 13 penalty corners.
Besides that, there was an apparent lack of cohesion among the midfielders and forwards and the backline was also exposed on occasion but any damage was contained by the poor finishing of the Fiji forwards.
As expected, Bangladesh controlled the match with the majority of possession and won four penalty corners but penalty-corner specialist Chayan failed to convert any of them, relinquishing the duties to the promising Ashraful Islam. However, Ashraful followed in the footsteps of his senior teammate.
Fiji goalkeeper Richard Eyre was one of the major reasons Bangladesh could not cash in on their penalty corners despite three players -- Khorshedur Rahman joined in later -- trying their hand. Interestingly, Chayan converted from Bangladesh's seventh penalty corner, but Fiji cashed in on their lone penalty corner to level the margin in the 32nd minute.
However, Jimmy restored the lead for the hosts five minutes later following a nice one-two with Kamruzzaman Rana, before extending the lead in the 41st minute with a close-range strike after Milon Hossain cut the ball back to the veteran marksman. Jimmy could have made the day sweeter with a hattrick, but he squandered two opportunities.
In the last quarter, Chayan converted another penalty corner to make the margin 4-1 before Ashraful Islam also converted a penalty corner to wrap up the victory three minutes from time.
“Yes, I am satisfied the way the players played today [Sunday] and I saw nothing wrong in the penalty corners, but you have to admit that the goalkeeper of the opponents played better,” said Kurtz, who believes his charges will be able to beat Oman in their next match on Tuesday.
“We can beat Oman by carrying [on with] this kind of performance but we need to improve our scoring ability,” added the German, who had been Oman's head coach for a long period.
In the day's other matches, Malaysia beat Oman 6-1, Ghana beat Sri Lanka 5-4 and Egypt beat China 3-2 in a penalty shootout after the match ended in a 2-2 draw.