• Monday, November 24, 2014

Defensive worries deepen

Sports Reporter
Bangladesh U-23 national team's striker Wahed Ahmed celebrates after scoring the opening goal against Bangladesh Army at the Army Stadium in Banani yesterday. PHOTO: STAR
Bangladesh U-23 national team's striker Wahed Ahmed celebrates after scoring the opening goal against Bangladesh Army at the Army Stadium in Banani yesterday. PHOTO: STAR

Bangladesh national U-23 football team has given the team management more cause for concern after a sloppy 5-4 win against the Bangladesh Army team in a practice match at the Army Stadium in Banani yesterday. The national team trailed the Army team by 2-4 goals at the end of the first half, thanks to some dreadful defending and horrible goalkeeping, before scoring goals in the second half to eke out a face-saving win.

However, the way the four goals were conceded in the first half against a non-professional outfit like Army will give the team management a lot to worry about ahead of the two friendlies against Nepal U-23 team this month and the Asian Games next month.

During the previous practice match against Army, the national U-23 team looked sloppy in the second half, resulting in a needless goal conceded. Yesterday, the troubles began in the first half, soon after Wahed Ahmed had put the national team ahead.

A looping header from Army striker Silon Khan caught goalkeeper Shahidul Alam Sohel off-guard before Atiqur Rahman Meshu restored the lead with an easy header.

However, things changed completely afterwards as the national team's defenders -- Yeamin Munna, Kesto Kumar, Tapu Barman and Meshu -- failed to deal with Army's long-ball ploy and aerial supremacy.

Army striker Tarek Aziz soon restored parity before a dreadful back pass from Kesto gifted a goal to Minhazul Abedin. A sliding finish from Silon made it 4-2 before the break.

Rene Koster, the man in charge of the national U-23 team, made a number of changes in the second half, including substituting keeper Sohel with Harunur Rashid Liton and two changes in defence and succeeded in stopping the rot.

Meshu scored two more goals while substitute Aminur Rahman Sajib scored one as the national team came out with a 5-4 win.

Koster was less than impressed, but found a few excuses for the shambolic performance.

“We had a horrible first half. Defence was poor during that time and also the 'keeper was at fault for some of the goals,” said Koster, who is in charge in the absence of head coach Lodewijk de Kruif.

“However, we could not have practice in the last week due to incessant rain. The pitch that this match was played on was also poor, which did not help our passing game, but was rather more suited to their long ball football,” said the Dutchman after the game.

The same ground will be used for national U-23 team's first friendly match against Nepal U-23 team on Tuesday. The head coach Lodewijk de Kruif is expected to take charge after arriving on Monday morning.

Published: 12:00 am Sunday, August 24, 2014

Last modified: 1:05 am Sunday, August 24, 2014

TAGS: army stadium Defensive worries Bangladesh national U-23 football team Bangladesh Army team

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