Panic evaporates after victory
Bangladesh players usually make a lot of fun at the dressing room during international matches but a panic had set in ahead of their crucial SAFF Championship encounter against Maldives at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru yesterday.
The players hardly talked with each other before taking on the island nation, but all the tension, anxiety and uncertainty evaporated after a morale-boosting 3-1 victory – the first over Maldives in the competition in 20 years, keeping Bangladesh's hopes of a semifinal berth alive.
After the final whistle, some of the players lay on the ground while some ran towards to the bench to celebrate the victory. Tapu Barman and Jamal Bhuiyan were heard shouting vamos, vamos as the win made the environment for the players and the team management easy.
"There was panic at the dressing room and we hardly talked to each other before the start of the game though we usually make fun before international matches. The dressing room was really vibrating after the match and we are happy with this important victory," said winger Rakib Hossain, who scored the equalising goal before the break.
Coach Javier Cabrera termed the victory as a great achievement while giving credit to the players.
"It is a great achievement. We knew how important it was to get three points because it was difficult right after conceding the goal. The atmosphere was not the same before the goal and the boys did an incredible job to come back. All the credit goes to them," Cabrera said at the post-match briefing.
The Spaniard said he was confident about leaving the field with a victory.
"During half-time at the dressing room, they wanted more and more and we were absolutely convinced that we would win the game. They did it and they do believe in themselves and that is what they also do and proved that they have the opportunity to qualify for the semifinals," said the 38-year-old, who saw his side suffer a 2-0 defeat against the same opposition in his first assignment with Bangladesh.
"The idea was to continue the momentum because we started very well. Playing against the clock, the idea was to keep doing the same and started the second half strongly and not gave them any chances and go for another goal. We were completely convinced that we could score at least two goals. And that condition made the team achieve the victory."
Replying to a query about individual performers, Cabrera said, "Bishwanath did well because he has been a fighter who is always ready to give you more than you want. Morsalin is also a young player who has been playing well for his club. But it has been a total teamwork and I don't want to find one or two because everyone fights for each other and that is the way to win matches."
"We have to face Bhutan the same way we faced [Maldives] today. Again I am impressed with Bhutan in the first half against Maldives and they got more chances but they were unlucky to concede the penalty. Bhutan is a dangerous opponent and what we know is that we have to achieve three points to reach the semifinals," said Cabrera.