Bangladesh national football team returned from Laos in the early hours of Saturday and got back to the business of hard training in the afternoon as the team management there is no scope for any let-off in the second leg of their first round of qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup despite winning the away leg 1-0.
Usually coaches do not call their opponents unlucky, and that too after winning a close match. But Bangladesh coach Jamie Day, both in the post-match press conference and to local journalists after coming back to Dhaka, said Laos ‘were a bit unlucky as they were the better side in the first half’. The English coach has good reason to say that too as he knows his team survived some scary moments in the first half and were way below-par, compared to their recent performances, all through the match.
“We know they’ve got some dangerous players. We know that we need to perform in the second leg,” the coach said during the team’s training session yesterday at the Bangabandhu National Stadium, where the second leg will take place on June 11.
“We’re pleased that we won the away leg, but it still can be a very tough game,” Day said. “We know from experience in SAFF Championship, we had to play Nepal to qualify and we lost. So the job isn’t done yet.”
There was nervousness among the players, which resulted in a lot of miss-passes as the Laos players completely dominated possession and earned a number of corners and free-kicks.
It was due to some great glovework from goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana that Bangladesh survived those scary moments in the first half. The coach knows the main threat from Laos will again come in the form of set-pieces.
“Their set-pieces were very good. Great deliveries from corners and free-kicks. We need to defend properly and need to limit set-pieces against us,” analysed the 39-year-old coach, earmarking that Laos captain Souk Aphone Vongchiengkham as the most dangerous player in the opposition team.
Even though away goals play crucial role in deciding outcomes in doubled-legged ties, often a 1-0 away win away can give teams a false sense of security and make them complacent when playing at home. Day wants none of that complacency and defensive mentality from his players in the second leg. So even if a draw would be enough for his side to qualify, he wants his charges to win the match or at least play with a winning mentality.
“We are pleased to have a one-goal advantage. It’s a nice advantage but we can easily get caught up. I want to win both games. We’re going to the second leg looking to play positive football and go for a win,” the Englishman said.
The coach wants to make things as difficult as it could be for the visiting side, so he wants not only his players to stand up to be counted, but also the fans to turn up in big numbers and create as much psychological pressure on the Laos team.
“Hopefully the stadium will be packed out. If we have full support of the Bangladesh people behind us, that will be a big advantage for us. I think Laos wouldn’t have probably played in front of huge amount of people. So we need to get the stadium packed and use that to advantage as well. We need to make this environment difficult for Laos to play in on and off the pitch,” Day said.