A very important match in the context of both teams. The winners will advance to the second round of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, i.e. the group stage. Those who lose will face a one-year exile from international football. Explaining the importance of the match, Bangladesh captain Jamal Bhuiyan urged the spectators to come to the field in the press conference.
Bashundhara Kings Arena was filled to the brim long before the scheduled time. The Bangladesh team did not disappoint the hosts. Defeated Maldives 2-1 at home to confirm group stage. Rakib Hossain and Faisal Ahmed Fahim are the two scorers of Bangladesh, who are down to 10 in one stage of the match.
In this victory, Bangladesh’s three opponents in ‘I’ group are Asia’s strong Australia, Lebanon and Palestine. After conceding a goal in the 87th minute in Male, Bangladesh came back with a point in added time through Saaduddin’s goal to start from there yesterday at the King’s Arena.
On this day, Bangladesh coach Javier Cabrera made the XI with the hero of the match in Male, Saaduddin. This rightback played excellently in the whole match. Cabrera’s two betting horses Rakib Hossain and Faisal Ahmed Fahim kept the Maldivian defense distracted from the start of the match. His breakthrough also came in the 11th minute of the match. Faisal Ahmed Fahim’s pass from the left side to Saaduddin’s cutback almost from the byline, Rakib Hossain shook the net with a great placement (1-0). The gap could have increased after four minutes.
But Fahim’s shot from Jamal’s cross was blocked by Maldives goalkeeper Hussain Sharif as it entered the net after a drop. In the 21st minute, Maldives tried to get back into the match. Hamza Mohammad entered the box and tried to cut through four defenders to take a shot on target but Mohammad Hridoy did not let the goal go. In the 29th minute, Hriday’s long pass touched the head of a defender and Rakib got it in the gap. But despite finding the goalkeeper alone in the box, Rakib could not send it into the net. The ball was slowed down by the Maldivian goalkeeper with his left hand extended.
Four minutes later Hamza Mohammad’s Konakuni shot was saved by Bangladesh’s young goalkeeper Mitul Marma. Bangladesh went on the attack again in the 34th minute. However, Rakib’s placing shot from Jamal’s short cross hit the post, but the goal was not found. In the opposite direction of the game, Maldives equalized in the 36th minute. Hamza’s corner was not cleared properly by Fahim. Then Aisam Ibrahim, standing right from behind, beat Mitul Marma with a measured head. Bangladesh regained the lead at the beginning of the second half.
Faisal Ahmed Fahim, who wasted multiple goals in Male, scored the goal. Saduddin’s Konakuni shot was saved by the Maldivian goalkeeper, and the forward, who joined Sheikh Jamal in the new season, scored when Sohel Rana stopped the return ball. Morsalin, who was punished for the liquor case, did not feel empty in his performance that day. In the 58th minute of the match, Sohail Rana saw the second yellow card and Bangladesh became a ten-man team. Even after going down by one player, Javier Cabrera, the craftsman of the new Bangladesh, did not change the style of the game much. Rather, to increase the edge of the attack, this Spanish coach raised the captain Jamal Bhuiyan and brought Mojibur Rahman Johnny to the field. Johnny also repaid the coach’s trust. Bangladesh could have scored with his two attacks.
Trailing behind, Maldives increased the pressure on the Bangladesh defense in the last ten minutes of the match. However, Tariq Kazi, Biswanath Ghosh did not allow danger. Faisal Hossain Fahim left the field due to an injury in the 83rd minute of the match. Instead of him, the Kabras strengthened the defense by bringing down Hasan Murad. In the 88th minute of the match, Bangladesh could have left the field with a bigger victory if the referee of Bahrain did not cancel the goal due to a foul by Biswanath in Sohail Runner’s corner. A player from Maldives also saw a red card at the end.
With this victory at home, Jamal will play the first match against Australia on November 16 in the group stage of World Cup qualifiers. Bangladesh will get a chance to play six matches against the strong Asian countries in the group stage as a result of the removal of the hurdle of pre-qualification. It is noted that Bangladesh played in the group stage after defeating Laos in Qatar World Cup qualifiers.