Hosts' flying start
Bangladesh forward Rasel Mahmud Jimmy (C) is sandwiched in between a host of Thailand defenders as he tries to take the ball forward. It was however Jimmy who had the last laugh as the hosts thrashed their opponents 8-1 in their first match of the Robi Asian Games Qualifiers at the Maulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium yesterday.Photo: STARSports Reporter
Mamunur Rahman Chayon scored five goals that included a hattrick while Mohammad Nannu, Maksud Alam Habul and Mosharraf Hossain scored one each as Bangladesh thumped Thailand 8-1 in their Robi Asian Games Qualifiers at the Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium yesterday.
Bangladesh let it ease off a bit in the second half in scorching heat after totally dominating the first half with a 5-0 lead. Thailand got the consolation goal in the second half through Surasak. Chayan was adjudged man-of-the-match for his quintet, all of which came from penalty corners.
The first half was completely dominated by Bangladesh. They were playing an ultra-attacking game, fielding almost the entire team upfront. Defenders Chayon and Asaduzzaman Chandan marshalled the quiet backline and provided long balls upfield for the forwards to pounce.
Bangladesh started the game in attacking mode and got into the scoresheet in only eight minutes. The first penalty corner of the game, Rasel Mahmud Jimmy's take, Mosharraf Hossain Kuti's push and Chayon's drag onto the top corner of the net. No chance for the keeper to stop as Bangladesh took a 1-0 lead. That same combination, or sometimes changed hands in the pusher or stopper, yielded dividends four more times during the course of the game as Chayon succeeded in converting five of the penalty corners from nine taken. Nannu made it 2-0 in the 12th minute from a goalmouth melee, followed by another penalty corner goal from Chayon seven minutes later.
The fourth goal was another field goal finished by Habul after a darting run from Krishna inside the box from the right side.
Krishna turned the provider once again with six minutes to go for break when his pass-in was pushed in by Kuti to make it 5-0 for Bangladesh.
And it seemed like it would be more of the same in second half when the Jimmy-Kuti-Chayon combined again to convert another penalty corner.
However, since then Thailand surged some meaningful attacks as Bangladesh sat back a little. And they found a deserving goal when Surasak completed a solo effort with a beautiful diving reverse-hit that beat goalkeeper Zahid Hassan. Bangladesh though got two more back from penalty corners converted by Chayon as he finished the day with five goals including a hattrick. Bangladesh might have got more had it not been some valiant saves from the Thai keeper.
Bangladesh coach Gerhard Peter Rach was not fully satisfied with the performance of the players as he pointed out that they relaxed in the second half.
"Our forward line was not aggressive in the second half and they missed a couple of chances. The midfield was casual and the goalkeeper too made a mistake when he conceded the goal," said the German.
He was also critical of the opponents' tactics of playing a very negative match. And the coach sounded confident of winning all the matches of the campaign.
"We are the best team in the tournament. No one can beat us if we play according to our potential."
In the day's first match, Hong Kong scored a 4-3 win over Sri Lanka in a closely-fought encounter. Sri Lanka pulled three back after being three down only to find Hong Kong seal a winner a minute from final whistle. In the day's last match, Chinese Taipei upstaged powerful Singapore 4-1 for the first upset of the tournament.
Bangladesh will take on Taipei today at 4 pm at the same venue and BTV will beam the match live from the venue.