Hosts Bangladesh are looking to confirm their final berth in the Bangamata U-19 Women’s International Gold Cup with a victory against Mongolia in the second semifinal today, despite probably missing their two key strikers in the form of Sirat Jahan Swapna and Krishna Rani Sarker.
The match will kick off at 6:00pm at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
The two strikers, who scored three of the four goals in Bangladesh’s two group-stage matches, sustained knee injuries during the match against Kyrgyzstan on Friday and are likely to miss the semifinal against the Central Asian nation.
The team’s coach Golam Rabbani Choton is counting on replacements such as Tohura Khatun and Sajeda Khatun to get the job done upfront while he also wants his charges to be more precise in front of goal.
“Sajeda and Tohura are playing well and they are likely to play [against Mongolia]. We can win and win by big a margin with the players that we have,” the coach said after a team practice session in the afternoon, adding that he was expecting Mongolia to offer a physical game similar to Kyrgyzstan.
“Kyrgyzstan played physical football. I expect the same from Mongolia. In fact they are physically a bit ahead of Kyrgyzstan. But we have formulated our plan according to their game,” said Choton.
While Bangladesh won both their matches in group stage -- 2-0 against UAE and 2-1 against Kyrgyzstan – Mongolia have had a mixed bag in the group stages, winning the first match against Tajikistan 3-0 before taking a pounding in a 5-0 defeat against tournament-favourites Laos.
Skipper Mishrat Jahan Mousumi was optimistic that whoever plays in the team will adjust to the others and fill the void left by the injured striking pair.
“Both Krishna and Swapna are experienced players. We will definitely miss them, but those who will replace them are good enough too. Those who come to replace starters can cope up very easily. So it won’t be too big a problem for us,” Mousumi said. “We didn’t watch Mongolia’s matches but our coaches watched their matches and gave us information about the opposition and relayed the gameplan.”
The skipper expects a big crowd at the BNS today and she feels the crowd is an encouragement for the team rather than a pressure.
“Having large crowds in the gallery is an inspiration. We don’t often see such big crowds in Dhaka. Having a big crowd is not any pressure for us, rather it is an inspiration,” Mousumi added.