Bangladesh’s perennial problem of conceding goals from set-pieces cost them once again as they lost their Asian Cup play-offs second-leg match against Tajikistan by a solitary goal in Dhaka on Tuesday.
Nazarov Akhtam’s goal from a free-kick in the eighth minute of the game was enough for the Central Asian nation to win the two-legged tie with 6-0 aggregate and ensure a place in the qualifying round of the 2019 Asian Cup in UAE.
Bangladesh still have a chance to qualify for the qualifiers as they will now play Bhutan in the final elimination play-offs to be held over two legs in September and October.
Bangladesh coach Lodewijk de Kruif brought five changes to his starting line-up that suffered 0-5 drubbing in Dushanbe five days ago.
But the Dutchman’s tactics failed to make any impact in the game despite dominating most of the possession. After scoring early and having a big lead from the first -leg, the Tajiks seemed relaxed and little interested to take any risk.
Nazarov Akhtam fired a dazzling left-footed free-kick from 20 yards out that took a sleight deflection off the wall before finding the right corner of the net.
Tajikistan were awarded the free-kick after left-back Raihan Hossain committed a foul in danger zone.
After conceding the goal, Bangladesh put immense pressure throughout the game but couldn’t find the opponent’s net.
Nabib Newaz Jibon, the lone forward of Bangladesh, wasted an opportunity in the 19th minute when he tried his luck from 30-yard out, which was cleared by a defender after goalkeeper Mahkamov Abdulaziz failed to grip it.
Jibon squandered the best chance of the match in the 33rd minute when the forward collected a cross from Emon Mahmud but his shot from eight yards out was deflected off a defender and went inches wide of the post for a corner.
In the 61st minute a Jewel Rana cross from the left side fell inside the penalty area where Mahkamov cleared the ball to safety.
Tajik defender Tukhtasunov made a goalline clearance in the 66th minute when he cleared a Topu Barman header following a volley of Jamal Bhuiyan with another header.
Kruif, who was exclusively given the charge of the national team for these two games against Tajikistan, rued bad luck for the defeat.
‘It was very unfortunate to concede a goal from a set piece so early,’ said the Dutchman. ‘It was a pain in the head because it was a deflected ball.
‘In 90 minutes we created a lot of chances. We deserved a goal maybe we deserved a win because I cannot count any chance of Tajikistan today. I think the only team that deserved a win today was Bangladesh.’
Tajikistan coach Khakim Fuzaylov was happy to see his side leave the field with a win.
‘Today was a tough game for us. It was difficult with rain and humidity,’ said the Russian born Tajik coach.
‘Our players did well and they did as per all the instructions that I gave before the match.’
Source: New Age