Having ensured the semifinals of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup for the fourth time in a row on the previous night, the Bangladesh team relaxed yesterday as all the players enjoyed optional training inside the team hotel.
Even though there is always instruction of going to bed early, there was no such instruction last night after an empathic 3-0 win over Sri Lanka and most of the players enjoyed the freedom by watching the English Premier League fixture between Liverpool and Manchester United.
The following morning, right-winger Saad Uddin chilled at the poolside as he talked to reporters.
“To be honest, everyone was under pressure for the Sri Lanka match, but now we are in relaxed mood after a good result. Everyone is enjoying the moment after the release of pressure,” said Saad, who had scored against India in the World Cup Qualifiers in October last year.
Following dismal performances in the South Asian Games in Nepal and a defeat against a second-string Palestine side in the opening match of the ongoing tournament, there was worries whether the men in red and green could overcome the challenge of Sri Lanka, who kept Palestine at bay for 90 minutes before conceding two goals within three minutes of stoppage time.
Pressure mounted on the home side in absence of injured captain Jamal Bhuiyan and fever-hit centre-back Yeasin Khan as well as due to the absence of regular striker Nabib Newaj Jibon, but the charges of Jamie Day put all odds behind them to display an improved performance.
“Every player was under pressure in the Sri Lanka match, which was a 50-50 affair for either side but everyone played positively. From the outset, we were in attacking mood and everyone performed accordingly and got the result. We are relieved with the win even though our target is to go step by step. We are now looking forward to the semifinals,” said Saad, who has become a regular starter since Day took charge.
Bangladesh show poor finishing qualities even playing against equal-strength sides and Saad believes it is because they are predominantly a counter-attacking team.
“I think we are a counter-attacking team. We can’t play well with more possession but we can play well on counter-attacks and can finish on the break. We scored the second goal [against Sri Lanka] from a counter-attack.
“We score most goals from quick attacks and set-pieces. You will hardly see us scoring goals through build-up play from defence. This is because we have worked mostly on counter-attacks and defending in training sessions. Our coach has also emphasised on scoring from quick movement,” said 21-year-old winger, who plays in right-back position at club level.
The lad from Sylhet believes they can make it to the final like the third edition of the tournament, by beating Burundi on Thursday.
“I watched Burundi’s last match. I think we will get chances to score because they play open, keeping a lot of space behind the defence. Even they look out of shape on the pitch. We will be able to score if we can create chances. The coach is yet to inform us about Burundi, but the match will be a tough one,” said Saad, who represented Bangladesh at under-16, under-19 and under-23 level.