Doha, September 22: Yemen booked their place in the 2018 AFC Under-16 Championship Malaysia with a 2-0 victory against Bangladesh in their Group E match at the Grand Hamad Stadium in Doha on Friday.
Yemen, who had beaten hosts Qatar 6-1 in their opening match, found the going tough against their South Asian opponents, especially in the first half.
But a penalty seconds before half-time, converted by defender Sultan Yousef Thabit, and a goal in injury time scored by Osamah Samer Al Baadani made sure of their progress.
The match started on a slow pace and it was Bangladesh who got the first opportunity.
Miraj Molla escaped the attention of two defenders as he surged into the box, but Yemeni keeper Abdullah Abdulhakim Al Sadi dived to his left to gather the low shot.
Two minutes later, It was the turn of Molla’s strike partner Foysal Ahmed Fahim to give the Yemeni defence a big scare, but he too could not deliver the end product despite a surging run through the centre.
Yemen had to wait until the 44th minute for their first meaningful effort, with Tamer Nadhel Sanen sending an almost perfect pass to Yahya Esam Al Baleeet, but the Bangladesh keeper raced off his line to avert the danger.
A minute later, Yemen took the lead.
Bangladesh failed to clear the ball and conceded a penalty as defender Sanowar Hosen Lalmia fouled Tamer Nadhel, and Sultan Yousef Thabit, who had scored from the spot against Qatar as well, gave goalkeeper Samiulla Bashar no chance.
Bangladesh came closest to equalising when Dipok Roy and Akkas Ali combined well with a free-kick but the former’s shot was well saved by Al Sadi.
Yemen, playing a much better game in the second half, had an opportunity to double their lead when Tamer Nadhel got onto the end of a long pass from the midfield.
However, with the keeper out of his area, he sent his volley over the bar.
Bangladesh tried to come back into the game in the dying moments of the match but it was Yemen who finished the stronger and Osamah – who had good game against Qatar – showed his composure again to beat Samiulla.
Bangladesh take on Qatar in the last match of the group on Sunday.
Mustafa Anowar Parvez (Bangladesh coach): “We tried to play our game throughout. We played very well, especially in the beginning but two defensive mistakes cost us the game. We will try to do our best against Qatar. Every game is a new experience for our boys.”
Sabah Khatam (Yemen coach): “I’m very happy for my players. It was a tough match but the most important thing is we won. Now we can start the preparations for the Championship in Malaysia. The boys were under immense pressure and we had a good crowd as well so they had to play well and win. That’s why we couldn’t play our game at the start. But we are happy with the result.”
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