Just like their counterparts, that is - the Bangladesh cricket team, the Bangladesh football team undeservingly get knocked out of Saff Championship 2021. Although the men in red and green had the game in control with an early lead, yet a late and unfair penalty awarded by the referee to Nepal cost the Bengal Tigers a place in the final after sixteen long years. It seems as if heartbreak is a part and parcel of the life of Bangladeshi people.
While the Bangladesh team had a matchday off before the unofficial semi-final, they still suffered during the rest and practice sessions. Just a couple of days before the match, the host of the Saff Championship did not provide any team bus for the Bangladesh team to return to their hotel from the practice ground. The players and the coaching staff had to walk their way out to the hotel, which by all the means is rather an unprofessional act by the organisers.
The touch of unprofessionalism was very much noticeable by bare eyes in Bangladesh's match against the Gorkhalis. Saad Uddin, who had a very disappointing game, conceded a penalty in the 86th minute which by no means was a penalty to be given. The Nepali player was attempting a diving header and missed it to fall on the ground. The referee awarded a soft penalty for Nepal which Anjan Bista scored to shatter the hearts of men in red and green. If that penalty was a legit one, fans around the world would witness a penalty in every ten minutes of a European match.
Bangladesh started the match with rather shaky gameplay as the star defender Topu Barman conceded a yellow card in the second minute of the match. However, Oscar Bruzon's men kept their calm and had their sheer bit of attack. As a result, captain Jamal Bhuyan dipped in a beautiful but deflected ball from a free-kick right beside the left flank which was brilliantly headed in by last season's Bangladesh Premier League top scorer (as a Bangladeshi) Sumon Reza. Although Nepal attacked more and kept the lion's share of the ball after that goal, yet they could not score past the wall of Bangladesh, Anisur Rahman Zico. Zico saved three absolute goal-scoring opportunities with his fingertips to keep the dream and hope of the Bangladesh team alive.
However, Rakib Hossain's sloppy back pass on the 78th minute of the match cost a red card for Bangladesh's star of the match Zico as he had to come out of his line to tackle the attacker in a one-on-one situation. Since then everything went in the way of the Gorkhalis who reached the Saff final for the first time in their history.
Just like all the Saff Championship 2021 matches, Bangladesh yet again lacked the killer touch in the final third of the pitch. The men in red and green built some exquisite attack only to waste it in the final third. The goalscorer Sumon Reza missed four one-on-one chances during the 21st, 54th, 63rd, and 71st minute of the match. Had one of them ended up in the net, the country of 17 crore people would have broken down in tears of joy.
Whether it is cricket or football, the unfair calls by match officials make the people of the country completely despondent. It was during the 2015 Cricket World Cup when the Bangladesh cricket team got their way out of the tournament by a bad umpiring decision. Now, their counterparts, the football team, are headed out of a tournament by a disappointing referee call. It was in Kolkata's Salt Lake stadium when Bangladesh drew against India after conceding a late goal. Now, it is in Maldives National Football Stadium that Bangladesh conceded a late goal to draw the match in a do or die game.
How long will this go on for Oscar Bruzon's men? How long will Jamal Bhuyan and Co. keep on suffering? How long will the 170 million people of a small country named Bangladesh face heartbreaks and witness biasedness?