Dhaka (Bangladesh), 19 October, 2017: Hosts Bangladesh notched up a sensational 4-3 win against China in a nerve-wracking shootout here at the Hero Asia Cup 2017 on a rainy Thursday evening. Registering their first win of the tournament, this heroic performance by the hosts enthralled the evening audience at the Moulana Bhashani Hockey Stadium who turned up in large numbers to cheer the home team.
Bangladeshi goalkeeper Abu Nippon was the star of the match as he not only made some important saves in regulation time but he also saved two goals in the penalty shootout that sealed the match for hosts. Bangladesh will next play Japan in the 5th and 6th placing match on Friday.
It was a late surge by Bangladesh that saw them overcome a 1-3 deficit to draw the match against China in regulation time. It was goals by Milon Hossain in the 53rd minute that ignited the hosts’ spirited performance paving way for another brilliant strike by Khorshadur Rahman to level the score to 3-3 in the 54th minute. Earlier, Ashraful Islam had scored Bangladesh’s first goal in the 25th minute.
At the start though, China dominated the proceedings with Du Talake’s hattrick (17′, 17′, 28′). China had better ball possession and powerful attack putting the hapless hosts on the backfoot. Bangladesh struggled with quality defence as all three goals for China came through penalty corners. It was the unforced defensive errors that dented Bangladesh’s hopes.
But a deliberate foul in the circle saw China concede a penalty stroke in the 25th minute which was successfully converted by Ashraful Islam. Though the lead was narrowed by Bangladesh, it didn’t help their cause when they missed out on easy goals. But they held their nerves to produce an outstanding finish and eventually walk home victorious.
On the sensational win against China, Bangladesh Skipper Rushel Mahmud said, “We were very motivated to play against China. It was a do-or-die match and we didn’t want to lose this at any cost. Also the fact that we would get a direct entry to 2021 Asia Cup if we finished one in six encouraged us to win. I am very happy we made this happen and Nippon played a very crucial role in our victory.”
Meanwhile, Chinese Coach Yingbiao Cui rued the chances his team missed. “There was a lapse in our defence and we missed out on chances in the third and fourth quarter. That changed the course of the match and Bangladesh played well,” he said.
Goal of the Game:
Presented By: Elisabeth Fuerst (Event and Sport Director, AHF)
Winner: Du Talake of China
HERO Man of the Match Award
Presented by: Mr. Rashid Sikder (Vice President, Bangladesh Hockey Federation)
Winner: Rushel Mahmud of Bangladesh
About Hero Asia Cup 2017 Super 4s:
The Super 4s consists of India and Pakistan who topped Pool A along with Malaysia and Korea who topped Pool B respectively. Starting Wednesday, each of the teams in Super 4s with play against each other and the team that finishes top two in the Super 4s Pool Standings will make the Hero Asia Cup final on October 22 while the other two teams will battle for the bronze medal. The Super 4s offers the teams an equal opportunity to vie against hockey super powers in Asia, not only making the tournament exciting but it also ensures the winner of the title has played against all top teams in Asia to emerge victorious.
Next up Bangladesh will play Japan at 17.30 hours while Oman will play China at 15.00 hours in the 5th to 8th placing match.