The Maldives confirmed their semifinal berth as the first team in the 4th Bangabandhu Gold Cup International Football Tournament beating Bangladesh Olympic Team (Bangladesh U-23) by 2-0 goals in their Group-B second match at Bangabandhu National Stadium here on Thursday.
Easa Ismail and Imaaz Ahmed scored one goal each for the winners. The islander nation Maldives dominated the first half by 2-1 goals.
Midfielder Easa Ismail put the Maldives ahead in the 16th minute by a right footer shot from the top corner of the six-yard box receiving a cross of forward Nashid Ahmed from the left flank, 1-0.
Forward Imaaz Ahmed doubled the lead in the 23rd minute by a right footer placing shot from the top of the six-yard box off a cross of Easa Ismail from left flank, 2-0.
In the 67th minute, Bangladesh U-23 midfielder Aminur Rahman Sojib spoiled a golden opportunity to score as he failed to take a shot timely from the top of the six-yard box in a one on one situation. Substitute midfielder Rubel Miya produced the super footwork from the right flank, but Sojib's low pace allowed the Maldives goalie Faisal Mohamed to grip the ball.
The Maldives made some lucrative attacks in the second half, but were unsuccessful.
Bangladesh U-23 had an opportunity to score in the 45th minute of the first half. Forward Aminur Rahman Sajib's right footer shot from goalmouth melee was chested down to clear the ball by the Maldives defender, off a 25-yarder free kick pass of midfielder Yousuf Sifat from right flank.
Bangladesh U-23 goalie Ziaur Rahman nicely gripped a header attempt of the Maldives midfielder Fasir Ali in the 15th minute. Captain Ali Ashahd took a free kick from left flank and Fasir headed the ball from the top of the six-yard box.
Bangladesh Olympic Team will be able to confirm their semifinal berth, if they can win by a big margin against Cambodia as well as Bahrain lost to the Maldives in their last group matches at BNS on Saturday.
Earlier, Bangladesh Olympic Team played 1-1 against Bahrain in their first group match on Sunday (January 10) while the Maldives started their tournament with an emphatic 3-2 victory over Cambodia on Monday (January 11), both at the Shams-Ul-Huda Stadium in Jessore.
Yellow cards: Gasim Samaam, Mohamed Hamza (the Maldives).
Referee: Al Yaqoubi Omar Mubarak Mazarouai (Oman).
The Maldives team: Ali Samooh, Abdulla Ahmed, Imaaz Ahmed, Easa Ismail (Ahmed Suhail), Hassan Naiz, Ali Ashahd (captain), Fasir Ali, Nashid Ahmed (Mohamed Hamza), Mohamad Saaif, Gasim Samaam and Faisal Mohamed.
Bangladesh U-23 team: Ziaur Rahman, Kesto Kumar, Rezaul Karim (captain), Shakil Ahamed, Emon Mahmud (Shahedul Alam Shahed), Aminur Rahman Sojib, AS Yousuf Sifat, Omar Faruk Babu (Rubel Miya), Atiqur Rahman Fahad, Masuk Mia Zoni and Arup Ku