Bangladesh centre-back Yeasin Khan was hopeful of returning to the country with points to their name as the national football team departed for Kolkata to play a 2022 World Cup Qualifier match against India. The booters will be boosted by a brave performance against Asian champions Qatar on Thursday night during a 2-0 loss.
“I don’t know the playing formation to be adopted against India, but I am hopeful of returning with points if we can replicate last night’s performance against Qatar,” Yeasin told The Daily Star.
“I believe the environment in Kolkata will be similar to Bangladesh. The venue is familiar to many of us as we played the final of the IFA Shield [in 2014] for Sheikh Jamal DC there. There may be a big crowd like the one we saw last night at the Bangabandhu National Stadium, but we are going to fight till the last minute,” said Yeasin, who led a young Bangladesh backline in the absence of experienced defenders as the hosts gave their superior opponents a run for their money.
“To be honest, initially I was not confident in the young backline but coach Jamie Day told me to just enjoy the game without thinking of defence, and to accept defeat only after fighting and making the spectators happy,” said Yeasin. “In the Afghanistan-Qatar match, Afghanistan conceded six goals despite playing a five-man backline but we played with only four men and Qatar had to toil to get goals. There were no defensive lapses.”
Yeasin was however disappointed to have conceded the last goal in stoppage time and believed that both of Qatar’s goals were lucky strikes rather than a result of creating clear-cut chances as Bangladesh were good in every department.
“You know the difference between Asian champions Qatar and Bangladesh; it is a big achievement for us that we fought against them till the last minute. I think we were able to meet the expectations of our supporters, although we could not capitalise despite creating some goal-scoring chances,” said Yeasin, adding that they should now work on finishing well up front before their encounter against India on October 15.
“We could have achieved something had we scored at least one goal. The story could have been different had we struck the equaliser before conceding the second goal at the last moment,” said the veteran centre-back, who was all praise for the huge crowd that braved the rain and turned up at the Big Bowl to back their team.
After reaching Kolkata, captain Jamal Bhuiyan urged everyone to forget the match against Qatar and focus on India.
“It was a tough match and we are disappointed. Forget yesterday’s result. Now we have a big match against India and we still have the opportunity to do something in our group. The Bangladesh-India match will be a 50-50 affair or maybe it will be 55-45 in India’s favour. We hope for the best and want to win the match,” said Jamal in a video message.