A goal-shy Bangladesh ended their fifth Bangabandhu Gold Cup campaign with a 0-2 defeat to the mighty Palestine in the second semi-final at the Birsrestha Ruhul Amin Stadium in Cox’s Bazar on Wednesday.
Mohammed Balah put Palestine ahead in the 8th minute of the 1st half before substitute Sameh Maraaba sealed the deal with an added time strike to set up final against Tajikistan for his side.
The final between two top-ranked sides of the tournament will be held in Dhaka on Friday.
The men in red and green put remarkable performance against a side, ranked 93 positions higher than them.
Despite the shoddy field condition caused by the constant rainfall in the coastal city, Bangladesh controlled the field with better passing and had more possession of the ball against the physically stronger Palestine side.
Palestine started the match in an attacking mode and it took them only eight minutes to take the lead.
After running past two Bangladeshi defenders Musab Battat entered the box from the right side and provided a neat cross to Balah, who made no mistake and headed the ball home.
Palestine could have doubled the lead just two minutes later but Abdallatif Albahdari saw his header from Jonathan Zorrilla’s corner kick hit the woodwork.
After weathering the early storm, Bangladesh gradually improved their game with better passing.
The charges of Jamie Day tried to build-up their game through the wings and tried to keep the ball in the ground considering the size advantage of the Palestinian players.
Right wing player Biplu Ahmed was at the heart of almost every attack of his side and at times put Palestinian defence under immense pressure.
Masuk Miah Jonny tried a shot from the right of the post in the 13th minute but Palestinian keeper Rami Hamada was there to block it.
Mahbubur Rahman Sufil had a chance inside the box in the 21st minute after a fumble by Palestine defender Tamer Salah, who was trying to pass the ball back to the keeper. Sufil went for goal but Battat made an excellent save to deny the shot.
Biplu found a through pass from Topu Barman in the 29th minute as he entered into the left corner of the box and provided a cross to Sufil.
But defender Yazan Iwaiwi cleared the ball using his physical superiority.
Bishwanath provided a long ball in the 58th minute but forward Nabib Newaj Jiban failed to head the ball properly as his header missed the mark.
Bangladesh keeper Ashraful Islam Rana produced a brilliant save to deny Khaled M Salem’s powerful shot from the edge of the box in the 71st minute.
Islam Batran’s shot in the 88th minute from a counter attack went wide.
Substitute forward Sameh Maraaba sealed the victory for Palestine in the added time placing the ball at the left corner of the net after Oday Dabbagh headed down a cross from Iwaiwi.
Bangladesh 0 v Palestine 2 (Mohammed Balah 8, Sameh Maraaba 90+)