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AFC U-16 Qualifiers: Bangladesh keep hope for final round alive

AFC U-16 Qualifiers: Bangladesh keep hope for final round alive

Dhaka – Bangladesh finished runners-up in the Group E match of the AFC Under-16 Championship Qualifiers upsetting hosts Qatar by 2-0 goals in the last group affairs at the Grand Hamad Stadium in Doha on Sunday.With the maiden and well-merited victory, Bangladesh Under-16 team not only kept their hope alive to reach the final round of the next year’s AFC junior meet as the best five runners-up alongside 10 group champions, but also eliminated Qatar from the meet pushing them to the bottom slot of the three-nation group.Bangladesh will now have to wait and see which five best runners-up team will qualify for the final round of the Asian Championship next year.Yemen emerged Group E champions with all-win record beating Qatar by 6-1 goals and Bangladesh by 2-0 goals and directly qualified for the final round of the meet.Qatar made five changes in their team after losing 6-1 to Yemen while Bangladesh fielded the unchanged team that had lost to Yemen 0-2in the last match.After a barren first half, Dipok Rony and Faisal Ahmed Fahim scored one each for Red and Green Bangladesh team in the last 20 minutes of the match playing a commanding game in the 2nd half.Bangladesh, which ranked 196 in the FIFA standings at the national level, their U-16 boys mounted the strong pressure on their middle east rivals Qatar, ranked 85th in FIFA standings at the national level, from the very beginning of the game, but lack of clinical finishing and as well as for some good defence by Qatar kept Bangladesh at bay.In the Sunday’s face saving for both the teams, Dipok put Bangladesh ahead in the 70th minute by a good header after beating Qatari defenders in air, off a corner kick of Molla from the right wing (1-0). After taking lead, Bangladesh became more confident and turned on the heat to keep the Qatar defence busy as a bee.Fahim confirmed the Bangladesh victory adding one more goal in the 81st minute by firing the net by an angular low placing shot to beat Qatari goalie Balideh in between two opponent defenders (2-0).Earlier on Wednesday, Bangladesh’s opening Group E match of the four-team AFC U-16 Qualifiers against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was cancelled as the latter side withdrew from the tournament in the dying moment.The AFC informed the matter to Bangladesh hours before scheduled kick-off at 7:45 pm (BST). With the withdrawal of the UAE from the meet, the Group E became an affair of three nations — Bangladesh, Yemen and hosts Qatar.Meanwhile, the Bangladesh team returned home from Qatar on Monday noon.UNB news agency