Bangladesh-Kuwait semifinal goes into extra time
Bangladesh and Kuwait failed to breach each other’s defences in regulation time in a lively back and forth contest as the first semifinal of the SAFF Championship 2023 at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru, India has now moved into extra time on Saturday.
Goalkeeper Anisur Rahman Zico emerged as Bangladesh’s savior multiple times in the second half while Rakib Hossain came agonisingly close to sealing a famous victory for Bangladesh.
After a barren first half, Kuwait started the second half visibly more aggressive. However it was Bangladesh who got the first clear cut chance in the second half.
In the 60th minute, Rakib nearly replicated his wonder goal against Bhutan, as his right-footed strike inside the box from a tight angle rattled the bottom part of the cross bar.
Fortunately for Kuwait and unfortunately for Bangladesh the ball went outside the goalpost after bouncing off the bar.
Kuwait started dominating the match from the 60th minute onwards, coming close to breaking the deadlock multiple times, but Bangladesh goalkeeper Zico was up to task for every challenge.
Bangladesh also threatened a few times on the counter-attack but the visibly tired players lacked the composure to make any serious attempt at goal.
Rakib got another chance to seal the match for Bangladesh in the 87th minute, but his attempt ended up being inches away from the target.
Seven minutes were added at the end of the 90 minutes, but both teams failed to deliver the decisive blow.
Earlier, Bangladeshi players stepped up against Kuwait, who are 51 spots ahead of them in the FIFA rankings, in a first half where both sides had their fair share of chances to score but failed to draw first blood.
The first and perhaps the best chance of the first 45 minutes of the match belonged to Bangladesh, when Sheikh Morsalin found himself in a 1v1 situation against the Kuwait goalkeeper.
Rakib Hossain burst through the right wing, wiggled past Kuwait’s left-back before sending a cross to Morsalin, who was waiting in the d-box all alone.
However, Morsalin, who had scored in Bangladesh’s first two matches, rushed his righ-footed attempt which went straight to the goalkeeper.
The fierce shot deflected from the keeper and returned to Morsalin but this time two Kuwaiti defenders were there to not allow Morsalin the room to unleash a second shot.
The rest of the half saw a lively back and forth contest, with Kuwait coming close to scoring multiple times and Bangladesh also looking threatening in counter –attacks.
But in a sunny afternoon in Bengaluru, both sides had to end the first half without anything to show for their efforts.
The score-line remained the same after an intense second half as both sides are now 30 minutes away from a penalty shoot out.