Bangladesh Down Cambodia
Monday, 27 April 2009

Bangladesh tasted its long-awaited victory when Enamul Haq struck a second-half goal to inspire the hosts to a lone goal win over Cambodia on the opening day of the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers on Sunday.

It was Bangladesh's first triumph in 26 matches. Before this win, the Red and Greens had won 2-1 against the same rivals in the inaugural AFC Challenge Cup in 2006 at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.

Anxiety loomed over the 5000-strong home fans as well as the reserve bench amid scorching heat before Farashganj SC's striker Enamul eased the pressure with a close-range header.

Before the start of the game, Brazilian coach Edson Silva Dido found no place in the starting eleven for striker Jahid Hasan Emily or Mohammad Robin, both recovered from injury, preferring the lone striker Enamul up front with a defensive formation of 5-4-1.

But Enamul had any impact until speedy winger Jahid Hossain, who also cured from his heel injury, took to the pitch after 54 minutes in place of debutant Emon Mahmud.

Soon Brothers Union winger Jahid started to make his presence felt with his a trademark powerful shot that narrowly went wide to the near post though the winger looked uncomfortable with his heel injury.

Moments later, Jahid darted into the box and fired a shot from close-range but Cambodian goalkeeper Sarmeth Seiha foiled his effort at the cost of a corner.

Capitalising on a throw pass from the right side, Jahid tried to enter the box after being brought down and Iranian referee Saeid Mozaffari did not hesitate to award a free kick.

Mamunul Islam lobbed the free kick for Atiqur Rahman Mishu, the liveliest player on the pitch, who headed the ball in the box and Jahid set up Enamul, who nodded low to find the back of the Cambodian net in the 72nd minute.

Enamul should have doubled the margin in the 84th minute when he was presented a free shot by Mishu, but the striker unbelievably squandered the opportunity sending the ball wide with only goalkeeper to beat.

However, two minutes before, the visitors almost snatched a draw when Kouch Sokumpheak headed a corner kick taken by Sam El Nasa, but stopper Wali Faisal headed to clear off the line.

In the first half, Bangladesh bossed the entire first half with crisp passing and better movement launching attacks on both wings. Wali and Mishu kept busy Cambodian defenders to clear their crosses one after another, but unlucky the hosts failed to capitalise those opportunities.

They produced six clear chances to take a deserved lead in the first half that might have pained strike duo Emily and Robin, who might counting their return to the pitch against Myanmar on April 28.

Cambodia mustered their first shot on target three minutes from break. Goalkeeper Aminul Haq, however, managed to clear a close-range shot from substitute Khuon Laboravy for a corner.

Debutant Emon should have opened the scoring in the 32nd minute when Mishu whipped a cross from the left and unmarked Emon dragged the shot wide when a gentle touch to control the ball was needed.


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