Bangladesh have launched their Bangabandhu Gold Cup campaign with a 1-0 victory over Laos. Midfielder Biplo Ahamed scored the winner for Jamie Day’s team at the Sylhet District Stadium on Monday. It is the first victory for Bangladesh over Laos, who had won one match and drawn the other against Bangladesh in their previous two ties. Bangladesh will play the Philippines in their last Group B match on Friday. Bangladesh attacked more than their opponents did in the first half but Mahbubur Rahman Sufil and Mohammad Nabib Newaz Ziban’s shots failed to find the net, frustrating the thousands of partisan fans at the stadium.
The Laotian keeper Saymanolinh Paseuth intercepted Sufils pass before it reached Biplo in the second minute.
Zibans shot went wide off the target after the forward took the chance from Waly Faisals pass by dodging a defender in the 11th minute.
Laos tried to hit on the break but Sengphachan Bounthisanhs header was wayward.
Bangladesh squandered another chance in the 22nd minute when Rabiul Hasan failed to head Biplos cross. Several minutes later, Sufil shot from the edge of the box raised but could not hit the target, adding to the frustrations.
Ziban missed the best chance of the first half with a weak shot into the gloves of keeper Paseuth in a one-on-one situation in the 29th minute.
Goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana came to Bangladeshs rescue with diving save in the 36th minute when Bounpachan Bounkong pounced on a loose ball after a defender tried to pass it back to Rana.
In the beginning of the second half, Ziban and Sufil paired in an attack, but the latters effort sailed over the post.
Soukchinda Natphasouk missed two chances for Laos. His shot sailed over the crossbar in the 45th minute before his header flew over four minutes later.
Bangladesh took the lead in the 59th minute. Paseuth fisted Zibans shot onto the post and Biplo got the ball after a defender tried to make the clearance but hit Zibans leg.
The midfielder then drove the ball into the net even though Paseuth tried to stop the ball with his leg.
Paseuth denied Ziban a few minutes later when he tried to head the ball in.
Coach Day replaced Rabiul Hasan with Zafar Iqbal in the 61st minute and brought Mohammad Ibrahim on for Sufil in the 71st minute to make the most of Bangladeshs dominance in possession. Biplo made way for Mamunul Islam Mamun in the dying minutes of the match.
In the stoppage time, Bangladesh foiled Laos bid to equalise from a corner.