Booters eye clean sheet
Bangladesh will be looking to end the group phase as champions when they take on Maldives in the last Group A match of men's football of the 11th South Asian (SA) Games at the Bangabandhu National Stadium today.
The match will be the first big test before the semifinals for both teams as they have registered comfortable victories in their previous matches against Bhutan and Nepal. If the match ends in a draw, Bangladesh will still top the group courtesy of better goal difference.
Meanwhile, in the Group B matches in Chittagong yesterday, Afghanistan beat Sri Lanka 2-0 to top the group, thanks to a brace from Belal Arezou, while India, thriving on a hattrick by Jeje Lalpekhula, thrashed Pakistan 5-1 to emerge runners-up. The champions from Group A will play against India, while runners up of Group A will meet Afghanistan.
Bangladesh, having won their first two matches comfortably, will be looking to extending their winning streak and turning the table on a team they lost to in their previous meeting in the Games 11 years ago in Kathmandu.
Bangladesh's prolific striker Enamul Haque is confident they can put on another good show and make the supporters happy after their disappointing show in the recent SAFF Championship.
"We didn't perform well in the SAFF Championship and let our fans down. We have been doing good so far in this competition and will be looking to extending that with another win."
The two teams have met five times in the past in the Games with Bangladesh holding a 2-1 lead over the tiny island nation. The other two matches ended goalless.
Bangladesh skipper Aminul Haque said they are improving with every match and would look for another good performance against the Maldives.
"We are taking the matches on by one. We have done well so far, made improvements in the second match from the first. But there is still a long way to go and are rooms for improvement. We know the strength of the opponents, but we are confident we will overcome the challenge."
Bangladesh's Serbian coach Zoran Djordjevic signalled that they might rest a few of the players for this match as there are injury worries to some of them.