Phnom Penh: Substitute Md Rabiul Hasan scored late against Cambodia to help Bangladesh pick up a 1-0 victory over the hosts in a FIFA tier-1 International Friendly on Saturday evening.
Bangladesh started brightly against their Cambodian rivals but found it hard to break the deadlock.
Head coach Jamie Day started with an attacking lineup with two forwards in the form of Nabib Newaz Ziban and Matin Miah and the tactic was paying off.
Bangladesh kept creating chance after chance but in vain. Lack of clinical finishing meant that the teams went into the break at stalemate.
After the break, it was some more chapters of the same story and something had to give. Besides, the hot-humid condition was also taking a toll on the players.
So, Briton Jamie, being the smart tactician as he is, substituted three of his starters with three new pairs of fresh legs within 11 minutes between the 65th and the 76th minute.
Biplo Ahmed was the first to go off making way for Rabiul Hasan in the 65th minute. Then Mohammad Ibrahim went in for Matin Miah and Mahbubur Rahman replaced Nabib Newaz Ziban in the 72nd and 76th minutes respectively.
It took substitute Mahbubur Rahman only six minutes to set up fellow substitute Rabiul Hasan for the winning goal.
Cambodia lost the ball in the midfield and a Bangladeshi midfielder lobbed a brilliant through ball for Mahbubur Rahman on the left flank which was controlled by him impeccably.
Beating a defender for pace, Mahbubur cut in inside the box and provided a low cross for Rabiul who thumped the ball with his left foot that hit the Cambodian goalkeeper on his right shoulder before hitting the back of the net.
Bangladeshi players were jubilant to see all their efforts finally paying off.
Bangladesh created some more chances before the final whistle but the match finished 1-0 as nobody could convert any more.
In a post-match reaction, Jamie Day said, “We limited Cambodia to long-range shots. I think we worked extremely hard when they had control of the ball and put them under a lot of pressure. I believe that for us, an away team, coming to Cambodia and being in control of the game for long periods, is a credit to us.”
“We knew Cambodia was going to be a tough opponent. We understand theirs was a young squad but then again, six to seven of our players were under twenty-three as well. So, it was a really positive result for us and a positive performance.”
Giving credit to his players for the win, the head coach said, “Really pleased for the boys. It was a good performance. They worked extremely hard. Their effort was brilliant and we deserved to win.”
Exhilarated to register Bangladesh’s victory with his first ever international goal, Rabiul said, “I’m extremely happy that Allah enabled me to score the winning goal. I also want to thank my teammates who worked really hard.”
“I tried to do what our coach told me so and that paid off. I’m very happy,” he concluded.
Team Bangladesh will now head back home with a crucial victory in the bag before the U23 side goes to Qatar for a 10-day training camp ahead of the AFC U23 Championship qualifiers.
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