Injury time goal saves Bangladesh

Bangladesh winger Saad Uddin scored a dramatic injury-time goal as Bangladesh draw 1-1 against Maldives

Bangladesh winger Saad Uddin scored a dramatic injury-time goal to help his side finish with 1-1 in their World Cup pre-qualifying against Maldives on Thursday.

Just when everyone was getting ready to write another familiar story of Bangladesh conceding a late goal to lose the match, super-sub Saad became the saviour for Bangladesh at the Male International Stadium.

Despite attacks and counter attacks from both sides it needed 87 minutes to break the deadlock when Hasan Naeem scored for the hosts. From an innocuous looking attack Bangladesh defender Tariq Kazi cleared the aerial ball with a header but that deflected from a Maldives defender to Naeem in the box who made no mistake slotting the ball home past Bangladesh goalie Mitul Marma.

With a desperate bid Bangladesh coach Javier Cabrera subbed-in Saad and the result was immediate as he received a Rakib Hasan cross to score between the legs of Maldives custodian.

Bangladesh dropped their number one goalkeeper Anisur Rahman Zico, experienced defender Tapu Borman and attacker Sheikh Mosralin for disciplinary issues but Mitul along with debutant Shakil Hossain did well in the defence.

The visitors, however, were a bit rusty in the early minutes but as the game progressed both sides started end-to-end football. Maldives striker Ali Fasir took a close- range shot in the 18th minute to see the ball hit the post.

Bangladesh got a chance eight minutes later but Rakib's powerful shot was wide of the post. The winger missed an easy header in the 35th minute before Fahid wasted a chance in the 40th minute as he failed to be on target from inside the box.

Rakib and Fahim had two more chances in the 53rd and 57th minutes but both were off the target. Meanwhile the hosts were unlucky not to get a goal eight minutes later when Shakil’s clearance off a Hamza Mohammad cross went just over the bar.

Fahim and skipper Jamal Bhuiyan were subbed-off and in came Jonny and Rabiul. A Rabiul attempt was thwarted by Maldives' keeper in the 74th minute while Ali Fassir missed a one-on-one against Mitul three minutes later.

Naeem scored the goal amidst the ecstasy of the crowd ten minutes later and that seemed the winner before Saad, who celebrated by pulling off his shirt, became the hero for Bangladesh.

Bangladesh will play their home-leg on October 17 and the winner will enter the qualifying round where they will meet Australia, Palestine and Lebanon.