Bangladesh fought tooth and nail to ensure they got a 1-1 draw against a strong Lebanon team in their Fifa World Cup qualifier at the Bashundhara Kings Arena on Tuesday.
Having lost the previous match against Australia 7-0, few would have expected Bangladesh to come back with a positive result against a Lebanon team ranked 79 places ahead of them, but that is exactly what they did.
Both goals came in the second half even though Bangladesh were the dominant side in the first half. But it was Lebanon who scored the first goal.
Starting the second half strongly, Lebanon seized an excellent opportunity following a defensive error by Bangladesh's backline. The goalkeeper left the goal exposed, and Majed Osman, who was just substituted in, took full advantage by successfully slotting the ball into the net in the 67th minute.
But the Lebanese lead didn't last long.
Sheikh Morsalin brought out his trademark long-range shot to score the equaliser as Bangladesh swiftly responded with a comeback in the 72nd minute.
He took control of the ball, manoeuvred through, and took a powerful shot from outside the box. The shot found the target, resulting in a much-needed equaliser that gave Bangladesh a lifeline to fight back in the game.
Morsalin was then shown a yellow card for climbing the fence to celebrate.
He then had a clear opportunity for his second goal in the dying minutes, aiming to give Bangladesh the lead, but unfortunately, he couldn't take on the chance.
The hosts played brilliantly in the first half, in fact, they were the better side dominating ball possession and posing continuous threats for Lebanon. They had more chances than Lebanon but a few went in vain.
Morsalin caused the Lebanon defence problem a number of times along with another forward Mohammed Fahim.
Lebanon, though, made a positive start early in the match. Lebanon's Karim Darwiche attempted a shot from the right in the 10th minute, but unfortunately, the ball went wide. This provided Lebanon with an early opportunity in the match.
The game changed and got more intense in favour of Bangladesh from there.
In the 22nd minute, Bangladesh made a fine counterattack, with Sohail Rana running through with the ball. He was unable to pass it through but sent the ball to the right wing. A well-taken cross but it was well-defended from Lebanon.
Bangladesh with back-to-back counterattacks around the 30th minute, taking the game in their hand, but unable to find the target both times.
Bangladesh's best chance came probably just before the half-time whistle, Fahim provided a cross for Morsali from the right wing, but the latter took a deflection and sent the ball over the goal.
The second half began with a change for each side. Mehedi Hasan Srabon came in for goalkeeper Mitul Marma while Leabnon's Felix Michel Melki replaced Walid Shour who was injured in the first half.
A pitch invader entered the pitch at around the 52nd minute and interrupted the game for a while.
Bangladesh skipper Jamal Bhuiyan, who was sloppy early in the second innings, was subbed off in the 60th minute, and Robiul Hasan replaced him. Lebanon made a few changes at the same time. Mohamad Haidar and Majed Osman came in for Hassan Maatouk and Ali Tneich respectively.
Lebanon played the last 10 minutes with a man less as they used up all the substitutions before that.
It was a much better outing from the Bangladesh side just five days after their 0-7 thrashing to Australia. Lebanon in their first Group I match, played to a goalless draw with Palestine at a neutral venue in the UAE on the same day (16 November).