Myanmar midfielder Pai Soe came off the bench to score a late brace to break Bangladesh hearts in their crucial AFC Challenge Cup qualifier at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
The super-sub produced two goals in the span of eight minutes as Myanmar cancelled out Enamul Haque’s early strike to secure a 2-1 victory over 10-man Bangladesh to brighten their chance of making the final-round berth as Group A champions.
Bangladesh were reduced to 10-men after defender Nasir was sent off in 87th minute for a second bookable offence.
Bangladesh captain and mercurial custodian Aminul’s brilliant effort under the bar was not good enough for the home side to stop the rampaging Myanmar who regrouped in the second half to mesmerise Dido’s boys who struggled to replicate their first match performance against Cambodia.
Everything however is not finished for the hosts as the margin of defeat kept their hopes alive to make their place in the eight-team final round. But Dido’s charges have no other choice than to win their final game against Macau to ensure their place in the final round as a best runners-up team by toppling the Maldives.
If there was a question of luck than it definitely was on Bangladesh’s side but Myanmar showed why they are featured far better in the ranking against Bangladesh by producing quality football under the lights.
It was none other than Aminul who rescued his side in the few seconds from the start of the game as the seasoned goalkeeper saved the penalty from Myo Min Tun which came in Myanmar’s way after young defender Mamun Miah wrongly tackled Yaza Win Thein, who terrorised the home team most with his aggressive running with the ball.
Then early in the second-half Myanmar frustrated by a woodwork as Yaza Win Thein’s powerful left-footer hit back from the inside of the second bar but the favourites Myanmar made sure of the win by playing better football.
Bangladesh team showed a lack of pace from the very beginning of the game and were totally disorganized. And they looked totally helpless after the breather following Myanmar’s series of attacks, especially they had no answers against Yaza Win Thein, captain Myo Min Tun and substitute Pai Soe.
The constant pressure brought the result for Myanmar in the 67th minute when Pai Soe pushed home on a Myo Min Tun’s cross with a delicate header and they enhanced the pressure to score the second goal in the 75th minute.
Match hero Pai Soe pushed the ball into the target from handshaking distance after Aminul failed to hold the ball from Yaza’s fierce shot.
Enamul could be a hero again for Bangladesh for the successive second match as he headed Bangladesh home in the early eleventh minute on a Emon corner. Enamul also struck the match-winner against Cambodia in the first game.
But the sluggish defense and the ordinary midfield failed to capitalise on his early strike.
“Myanmar played a running game and our players lacked the required fitness. They trailed behind in fitness. But I am not blaming the young players rather I asked everybody to support these guys as they tried their best,” Bangladesh’s Brazilian coach Edson Silva Dido explained the reason’s behind his team defeat.
His Myanmar counterpart Utin Myint Aung was delighted with the way his charges bounced back from the one goal down.
“I am very happy because the boys showed a splendid performance. It was amazing the way they put pressure on their opponents after conceding one goal,” said Utin Myint Aung.
Red card: Nasir (Bangladesh).
Yellow cards: Mamun Miah and Manik (Bangladesh), Moe Win and Pyaye Phyo Oo (Myanmar).
MYANMAR: Kyaw Zin Htet, Moe Win, Khin Maung Lwin (Han Win Aung), Bo Bo Aung (Pai Soe), Zaw Htet Aung, Aung Myo Thant, Yaza Win Thein, Myo Min Tun, Myo Zaw Tun, Win Min Htut and Pyaye Phyo Oo (Aung Kyaw Myo).
BANGLADESH: Aminul, Nasir, Mamun Miah (Sujan), Rajani, Arman, Faisal, Mamunul (Emily), Meshu, Manik, Emon (Zahid) and Enamul.
Referee: Matsuo Hajime (Japan).