Despite the difference between Bangladesh and Afghanistan being only 35 places in FIFA Ranking, Afghanistan's have always been considered a superior side than Bangladesh, solely because of their Europe-based players, but the men in red and green reached the levels of their technically and tactically superior opponents to snatch a valuable point in the World Cup and Asian Cup Qualifiers on Thursday night in Doha.
Afghanistan's dominant performance in the reverse fixture in Dushanbe in 2019 was evidence of their technical and tactical supremacy and ahead of Thursday's match it was hard to find an optimistic person betting in favour of the boys in red and green in their second meeting against Afghanistan on a fast-paced pitched.
Jamie Day's usual defensive strategy had come under intense criticism, even by Bangladesh Football Federation higher-ups, but the British coach set his charges up for a show that every football supporter in Bangladesh wanted to see in all games even though the 41-year-old said that yesterday's game was going to be harder than the Dushanbe match.
"The boys played extremely well and I guess we got the tactics right," Jamie Day told The Daily Star, disagreeing that he had the option to attack Afghanistan from the start. "No, [it is] not possible, if we play open football against the better team, they will punish us. Instead of staying in the game like yesterday [Thursday] and getting a point, we would have lost. Let's be happy with the performance and result."
"I personally don't think we can attack better teams and players from the start although another coach may have a different approach. I think it is better to be in the game for 90 minutes than for the match to be over in 45 because we are two or three goals down," opined Jamie.
Ahead of Sunday's game against India, who are 79 places ahead of Bangladesh in the FIFA Rankings, Jamie is inspiring his charges to repeat what they showed against Afghanistan.
"India have far better quality and showed it last night when they lost only 1-0 [to Qatar]. This is the simplest way I can put it. England and India have the same difference between them in the rankings. Would India beat England in a football match?" was the reply from Jamie, whose charges surrendered their lead in playing out a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture against India in Kolkata in October, 2019. Before taking charge of Bangladesh, the boys in red and green also played out two draws against India despite taking the lead on both occasions.
"There are always one or two games where the other team can cause an upset but that's not consistent. They have better technical players than us," said Jamie.
Whatever was playing on Jamie's mind, goal-scorer Tapu Barman was dreaming of getting some points and toppling India to book a direct ticket for the Asia Cup Qualifiers.
"We gave more than 100 per cent effort and that's why I could equalise in the last moment. Everyone gave their best from their respective positions and that was the most important thing; teamwork," Tapu said in a video message.
"We are looking forward to the matches against India and Oman. The India match is very important for us because we need to get points from this match to play the Asian Cup Qualifying round directly. This fact is on everyone's mind and our confidence has been boosted after the Afghanistan match. This confidence will help us in the India match," said the Bashundhara Kings centreback.
Meanwhile, midfielder Sohel Rana fractured his hand on Thursday night and was ruled out for the next two matches.