Jamshedpur: A spirited Bangladesh came back from behind to hold Uzkekistan 3-3 in a keenly contested tie of the JRD Tata Cup international invitational football tournament at the JRD Tata Sports Complex on Tuesday.
Down 0-2 at the breather, the Bangladesh boys managed three goals in quick time in the second half even as the Uzbekistan defence was found wanting.
The third Uzbek goal was scored in the second half when Shakhboz Umarov’s back-pass from the right found Abbos Abdullayev unmarked. He did not make a mistake.
Bangladesh reduced the margin in the 77th minute when skipper Mohammed Jahid Hussain Ameli headed home off a corner from the right. Ameli was right in place when the corner from Arup Kumar Baidya missed an Uzbek defender.
The next goal came a minute later when Anamol Hoque Sharif tapped in a cross from Ameli. In fact, Ameli went for the goal himself but his shot rebounded off Uzbek goalkeeper Sergy Sotnikov’s hands. Even as Sotnikov surged forward to retrieve the ball, an alert Sharif slotted in from the right.
The goal put Bangladesh back in the match. The crowd, too, went wild and supported them to the hilt.
Sensing that they could make a match of it, the Bangla midfielders did the trick by playing short passes. It did not take much time for the equaliser to materialise. Running solo after receiving a cross from midfielder Baidya, Moloy Burman dodged three defenders before pushing in the equaliser from the right of a diving Sotnikov.
Later, a barrage of attacks made the Bangladeshi intentions clear. The team went for the kill. Their inexperience did not come their way as the Bangla boys took full advantage of slushy conditions. “Yes, the slushy conditions favoured us,” said coach Mohammed Abu Yousuf. He added that after two losses — against India TFA Blue and India TFA White — the team was somewhat confident in this match.
Uzbekistan had things well under control in the first half. Quick passes and powerful shots were part of their tactics as the forwards surged ahead. The first goal came in the 32nd minute when a cross from Josur Boboev from the right found skipper Sobir Usmankhoajaev just outside the box. The forward let in a powerful grounder, which deflected off Bangla defender, Kayser Ahmed, before slipping into the net.
Uzbekistan, pre-match favourites, could have got the lead much earlier had Boboev’s right-footer not lost its sting due to a pool of water that had accumulated near the Bangladesh goalmouth.
It was 2-0 in Uzbekistan’s favour in the 39th minute when Shakhboz headed home from a throw-in from the left.