Bangladesh thrash Bhutan 3-1 to make first SAFF semifinal since 2009
Sheikh Morsalin and Rakib Hossain scored a goal apiece and effected another as Bangladesh fought back from a goal down to beat Bhutan 3-1 and book their semifinal berth in the SAFF Championship in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
The 3-1 win at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, similar to their win against Maldives the other day, took the men in red and green to the last four of the regional football event for the first time in 14 years. They finished group B with six points, behind group winners Lebabon, who finished on nine points.
Javier Cabrera's charges will take on Kuwait in the first semifinal on Saturday before India and Lebanon square off in the second semifinal later in the day.
Morsalin, who scored the third goal in Bangladesh's 3-1 win against Maldives the other day, set off Bangladesh's revival with an impressive long-ranger in the 22nd minute after Tsenda Dorji had given Bhutan a 12th-minute lead with a screamer from outside the box. Nima Wangdi then rattled the crossbar before Morsalin's goal set Bangladesh on way to their second win in three matches of the group stage,
Rakib's effort then bounced off Phuntsho Dorji into the Bhutan net nine minutes later before the Bashundhara Kings forward, set up by Morsalin, gave Bangladesh a 3-1 lead with a scintillating effort from an acute angle in the 36th minute of the match.
Cabrera, who started the match with two changes from the previous match, took off Rakib and Abahani midfielder Sohel Rana at the start of the second half as victory was in the bag for them.
The Spaniard made three more substitutions, including bringing in centre-forward Aminur Rahman Sajeeb even though Bangladesh exerted little effort in the attacking third during a lacklustre second half.