Bangladesh registered a shock 2-1 victory over 2006 winners Tajikistan in the opening game of the 2010 AFC Challenge Cup in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Tuesday evening.
All the goals came after halftime with the Central Asians also getting reduced to ten men in the second period.
Tajikistan 1-2 Bangladesh Lineups/Stats
2010 AFC Challenge Cup Group Stage
There was a heavy downpour prior to the kickoff as a result both teams found it difficult to get going.
However soon the experienced Tajikistan side started to settle in the game and were dominating possession in the early stages.
And it was the Central Asians, who had the first real chance of the game when striker Davronjon Tukhtasunov found himself in space but he couldn’t find the target thanks to a last ditch tackle from Bangla defender Razaul Karim.
The 2010 South Asian Games gold medalists had a great opportunity to take the lead when forward Jahid Hasan Ameli sent in a dangerous cross into the box but midfielder Shakil Ahmed headed his effort wide from close range.
The conditions got better which allowed both teams to play with more ambition and thrust. There were chances created at both ends but it remained goalless going into the break.
Bangladesh started strongly after the interval and were seeing a lot of the ball but were lacking quality in the final third.
The in-form Abdul Baten Komal finally created a good opening for Mamun but the latter couldn’t even test Tajikistan custodian Alisher Tuychiev.
Minutes later, Tukhtasunov, who was Tajikistan’s most dangerous player in the first half, produced a fine save off Aminul Haque.
The first goal of this edition finally came midway through the second half when Bangladesh’s star striker Enamul Haque pounced on a rebound and found the back of the net after Tuychiev had saved Nasirul Islam’s shot.
It was a true reward for Bangla’s good start after the break but the 2008 runners-up found the equalizer four minutes later when the experienced Yusuf Rabiev capitalized on some indecision inside the Bangladesh box.
Rabiev slotted the ball past Aminul Haque with a very clinical finish to became the all time topscoer in the competition's history.
But Bangladesh regained the lead three minutes later when defender Atiqur Rahaman Meshu headed home a Hasan Ameli cross past the helpless Tuychiev.
Tajikistan’s hopes of a second equalizer were almost ended eleven minutes before time when defender Farrukh Choriev was shown a straight red for making a rash challenge on Bangladesh substitute Tawhidul Alam.
Bangladesh held on for the three points thus giving new coach Saiful Bari Titu a win on his first match.
The result is truly surprising as Tajikistan came into this tournament as one of the favourites so now it has definitely thrown Group A wide open.
Goalscorers: Enamul Haque (Bangladesh) 67’, Yusuf Rabiev (Tajikistan) 71’, Atiqur Rahaman Meshu (Bangladesh) 74’