Bangladesh Ease Past Macau
Friday, 01 May 2009

Bangladesh qualified for the finals of the AFC Challenge Cup with an emphatic 3-0 win over Macau in the final match of the Group A qualifiers at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Thursday.

The second win in three matches meant Bangladesh with six points finished Group A runners-up as well as the best runners-up among four qualifying groups that made sure their berth at the expense of Maldives on goal difference.

After a lone-goal win over Cambodia in the day's first match, Myanmar became group champions with maximum nine points to join automatic qualifiers India, Tajikistan, North Korea and group champions Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Sri Lanka.

Before taking on Macau, Bangladesh almost were into the finals as they needed to ensure runners-up spot from Group and a draw was enough to see them behind Myanmar.

But Bangladesh probably wanted to erase their shock 2-1 defeat to Myanmar and destroyed Macau with a lively performance from the word go.

Midfielder Mamunul Islam gave Bangladesh the lead in the first half and substitute Jahid Hossain struck a brace in the second half to ensure a comprehensive victory over Macau, who also lost to Myanmar 4-0 and Cambodia 2-1.

Bangladesh's Brazilian coach adopted his old formation of 5-4-1 with midfielder Motiur Munna and Rashed Ahmed being brought in the starting eleven due to the suspension of Manik and Nasir Hossain, who was sent off against Myanmar.

The hosts, however, had their first shot on target in the 21st minute when Wali Faisal released a free kick from the right and Rajani headed the ball narrowly wide of the near post while left-back Emon Mahmud tested the opponent goalkeeper nine minutes later with a long-range shot, which, however, did not trouble Macau goalkeeper Tam Heng Wa.

Dido sent on Jahid in place of Matiur Munna after 33 minutes and the attacking midfielder whipped a cross from the left for lone striker Enamul Haq, whose close-range header Macau keeper Heng Wa failed to grip properly and Manun found the back of the net with a brilliant back-heel in the 38th minute.

Soon after the break, Jahid hammered a trademark long-range shot to test goalkeeper Heng Wa, who managed to tip it over the goalpost in the first minute.

With striker Jahid Hasan Emily substituting Mishu in the 61st minute, Bangladesh turned into a 4-4-2 formation from 5-4-1 and it was more effective and the hosts struck two more goals inside four minutes.

Jahid came close to doubling the lead in the 62nd minute when the winger played a neat one-two with Enamul to enter the danger zone but he saw his soft touch come off the sidebar with the goalkeeper beaten.

He, however, stunned the opponents in the 68th minute with a cracking 40-yard dipping shot that gave goalkeeper Heng Wa no chance to react and then three minutes later, Jahid, capitalising from a throw in from Emily, sealed the margin with a right-footer outside the box.

Brothers' winger Jahid almost grabbed a hat-trick in the 84th minute but he sent a Emily header wide even though he found himself close to the near post.


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