Buoyed by two spirited performances against Bahrain and Palestine, the Bangladesh under-23 football team are looking to break their drought in the AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers when they play their last group fixture against Sri Lanka in Manama today.
The match at the Khalifa City Sports Stadium is scheduled to kick off at 7:00pm Bangladesh time.
Bangladesh came into this qualifying campaign with a very sorry record -- nine defeats and a draw in the previous 10 appearances across three editions, and they were not quite expected to set things on fire in Manama either. But after two spirited performances against the two much-higher ranked sides from West Asia where they lost both matches by the slimmest of margins while giving Palestine a run for their money, Jamie Day's charges can certainly hope to end their draught in the competition.
The Bangladesh coach, during his pre-match talk with reporters, hoped that his charges would finally end their barren run and end the campaign on a high.
“We'd like to try and finish with a win. That is what they deserve. We'll set up and plan to try and win the game. We haven't won a game before. So it will be nice to get that and win the first game,” Day said regarding the match against Sri Lanka yesterday.
The English coach felt that they deserved more out of the first two games, but even in defeat he was quite content with the effort from his charges.
“We played well because the boys took on board what we wanted them to do. If we were a bit better in finishing, maybe we would have got something from both games. The work rate has been fantastic,” Day said.
When it comes to FIFA ranking of senior teams, Bangladesh (192) are not far ahead of the Sri Lankans (201) and there is little to choose between the two sides from the recent meetings. But if this under-23 campaign is taken into consideration with Sri Lanka having suffered 9-0 defeats against Palestine and Bahrain, Bangladesh should start the game as odds-on favourites.
Bangladesh team captain Mashuk Mia Johnny is determined that his colleagues will give their best and return home with a victory.
“In the two matches we played, we tried our best for a victory but we couldn't win. We'll try our best again to win against Sri Lanka,” Johnny said.