Bangladesh coach Jamie Day believes his side were deprived of a penalty in their 0-1 loss to Afghanistan in the opening match of the Joint Qualifiers of the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup in Dushanbe on Tuesday.
“[Nabib Newaz] Jibon’s one was a penalty. He was clearly fouled by the defender,” Day told The Daily Star over phone on Tuesday, when asked if Jibon should have equalised in stoppage time.
Bangladesh came close to levelling two minutes into the four minutes of stoppage time in the second half when defender Yeasin Khan back-heeled a pass from substitute Mahbubur Rahman Sufil to striker Jibon.
However, instead of unleashing a shot, Jibon tried to step into the six-yard box and was tackled from behind by Afghan defender Abdul Najem Haidary. Chinese referee Zhang Lei, however, waved for play to continue.
Day’s charges defended deep against the skillful Afghans, who broke the deadlock in the 27th minute through a header from Farshad Noor, courtesy of a poor effort from goalkeeper Ashraful Isalm Rana, who got a fist on the ball but could not prevent it from finding the back of the net.
“I think he [Rana] may feel he should have saved it,” Day said about the goal.
“I thought the boys played brilliantly, looked fitter and finished the game stronger with some good chances. We are playing a team who are 33 places above us in the FIFA rankings and to be on top and disappointed we didn’t get a point shows how far we have come! I believe they only had one shot in the second half,” the 39-year-old added.
Afghanistan had plenty of space in the Bangladesh half, especially in the first half, but things changed after the break as Bangladesh began to get good possession.
It was disappointing to see a lot of misplaced passes that led to loss of possession in promising situations but Jamie still praised his side for a good performance against Afghanistan, who had thrashed Bangladesh 4-0 three-and-half years ago in the SAFF Championship.
“You must realise Afghanistan are 33 places above us in the FIFA rankings and they have players that play in Europe. So, you should say they have better players than ours. In some parts of the game they are going to be better and on the top and that’s football,” said Jaime, who refuted that his players were under pressure and nervous from the outset.
“The same tactics were used in both halves. Maybe we kept the ball better [in the second half] but I am extremely proud of our players tonight and their performance. They were brilliant and worked very hard. There were a lot of positives to take from the game.”
The booters returned yesterday afternoon and the next course of action will be decided at a meeting of the National Teams Committee today. Bangladesh will play their next match at home on October 10 against Qatar, who were held to a goalless draw by India.