Bangladesh national football team suffered another heartbreak in the SAFF Championship on Wednesday as they drew 1-1 with Nepal and failed to qualify for the final.
Oscar Bruzon’s men had no other option but to win to reach the final as they needed at least seven points to qualify for the final. The draw took Bangladesh to five points from four matches, which is already fewer than Nepal and Maldives, who have seven and six points respectively.
Bangladesh had the perfect start as they took the lead early on when Suman Reza scored a beautiful header in the ninth minute of the match. But several missed opportunities, goalkeeper Anisur Rahman Zico’s sending off and a controversial penalty saw the red and greens draw the match 1-1.
Nepal started the game on the front foot as Bangladesh defender Topu Barman was shown a yellow card in the third minute of the game.
But soon after, Bangladesh got a free kick at the other end. Bangladesh skipper Jamal Bhuyan swung in a beautiful cross, and Suman, who came back into the XI in this match, headed in to give Bangladesh the lead in the ninth minute of the game.
The red and greens had another chance four minutes later from a counter-attack, but Md Saad Uddin’s shot went wide.
A couple of minutes later, Nepal forward Rohit Chand had the opportunity to draw them level as he got the ball three yards from goal. But all he could manage was to send the ball over the post.
In the 21st minute, Suman showed great energy as he won the ball on the right wing and dribbled his way to the Nepalese box, but could only shoot it straight to the goalkeeper Kiran Kumar Limbu.
Nepal came close again during the first-half stoppage time, as Ayush Ghalan’s header went just wide of Zico’s goal.
After the break, Suman once again had a brilliant chance to double Bangladesh’s lead. But he once again shot it straight to the goalkeeper as Nepal survived the attack. Mohammad Ibrahim then sent a header over the post from a Saad free-kick.
Nepal’s Chand could have brought them level once again when he received a brilliant cross from the right, but he once again headed it wide.
But soon, disaster ensued in the Bangladesh defence. Rakib Hossain’s dreadful backpass got to Nepal forward Nawayug Shrestha, who was in tons of space. Bangladesh goalkeeper Zico had no way but to come out and try to intercept, and in doing so, he had to handle the ball that saw him sent off for a professional handball offence.
And in the 87th minute, there was a controversial call from the referee to hand Nepal a penalty for Saad’s foul in the box. But replays later showed that Saad had a minimal touch on Gautam Shrestha, seemingly not enough to be considered a foul.
Anjan Bista did not make any mistake as he beat substitute goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana to equalize.
After conceding, Bangladesh tried their best with 10-man to score again but that only left them short in defence. Nepal, in the six-minute stoppage time, had three very good chances to get a lead, but they failed to take them as the match ended 1-1.