Dhaka, Sept 4 (UNB) – Hosts Bangladesh got off to a flying start in the seven-nation 12th SAFF Suzuki Cup 2018, the biggest soccer carnival of the region, beating Himalayan nation Bhutan by 2-0 goals in the 2nd opening day match at the country’s premier sports venue -- Bangabandhu National Stadium -- here on Tuesday.
With the day’s feat, Bangladesh not only took revenge of their frustrating 1-3 goals defeat against Bhutan in the ACC Asia Cup Qualifiers in Thimphu in 2016 to refrain from international football for 17 months but also brightened their chance to reach semifinals from Group A obtaining full three points from the first engagement.
In the previous SAFF Championship in India in 2015, Bangladesh outplayed Bhutan by 3-0 goals to record their 8th win in eleven encounters.
Bangladesh, which were eliminated from the group stage of the last three SAFF Championships after winning the title 15 years ago in 2003, displayed a good brand of football on their way to long-cherished SAFF mission.
In the day’s match, veteran defender Topu Barman scored the first goal for Bangladesh in the very 3rd minute from a penalty amid huge cheers from home crowd (1-0).
Bangladesh awarded the spot kick when their onrushing Atiqur Rahman Fahad was fouled by Bhutanese defender Tshering Dirji in the danger zone while trying to tackle a corner kick of Waly Faisal from right wing.
Finally, Topu Barman did no mistake to convert a penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner of the post. Tshering Dirji was also cautioned with a yellow card for the offence.
Teenaged striker Mahbubur Rahman Sufil sealed the fate of the match in the very 2nd minute of the 2nd half (47th minute) by an angular volley shot from the right wing (2-0).
There was a huge crowd in the stadium after a long time to witness the match.
Though the host sides had less ball position -- 39.7 percent-- compared Bhutan, they took their expected win job greatly.
There was a little rain after 60 minutes of the game, but the local spectators continued to enjoy the game support the team defying the odd.
Bangladesh brought three changes in their playing eleven in the second half as Emon Mahmud, Faisal Mahmud and Mamunul Islam came in replacing Masuk Miah Zoni, Saad Uddin and Faisal Mahmud respectively.
Bhutan also brought three changes in their eleven as Choki Wangc, Tsenda Dorji and Kingay Rabgay replaced Tshering Samdup, Galey Zangpo and Kencho Tobgay respectively.
Bangladesh put pressure from the very beginning of the match and drew applaud of the local crowd at the Bangabandhu Stadium, which got a huge number of spectators after a long time.
Earlier, in the tournament opener on the day, Pakistan got a 2-1 margin victory against Nepal at the same venue.
After the day’s win, Bangladesh topped the Group A list ahead of Pakistan by virtue of better goal difference.
In the remaining Group A matches, Bangladesh will play Pakistan on Thursday (Sept 6) at 7 pm and meet Nepal on Saturday (Sept 8) at the same time.
On Wednesday, defending champions India will take on Sri Lanka in the Group ‘B’ battle at 7 pm.
Bangladesh Team : Shahidul Alam Sohel, Topu Barman, Bishwanath Ghosh, Tutul Hossain Badsha, Waly Faisal, Masuk Miah Zoni (Emon Mahmud), Biplo Ahmed, Atiqur Rahman Fahad, Saaduddin (Faisal Mahmud, Mamunul Islam), Jamal Bhuiyan and Mahbubur Rahman Sufil.
Dhaka, Sept 4 (UNB) – A last minute goal by Muhammad Ali enbled Pakistan to make a good start in the 12th version of the seven-nation SAFF Suzuki Cup 2018 stunning Nepal by 2-1 goals in the opening Group A match at the Bangabandhu National Stadium here on Tueday.
With the day’s feat, Pakistan national team not only made a memorable return in the international football after four yerars but also dominated the Group A table securing full three points from one match. Pakistan also drew inspiration from the match of the recently-concluded Asian Games football beating Nepal 2-1 in a U-23 side affairs.
Pakistan played their last international match 1260 days ago in a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Yemen. Since that qualifier in March 2015, Pakistan football team was out of the international fold due to internal turmoil.
Nepal and Pakistan have met 14 times so far in international football. Nepal have won five and have lost four matches, the other the five matches ended in draws. Both teams met last time in SAFF championship 2013 playing a 1-1 tie.
When the match was almost heading for a draw, Muhammad Ali Dabous scored the match-winning goal for Pakistan in the 5th minute of the stoppage time (95th minute) by a cool header from danger zone (2-1).
Earlier, Hassan Bashir put Pakistan ahead in the 36th minute from a penalty (1-0). Pakistan got the spot kick when their onrushing Muhammad Riyaz was brought down by Nepalese skipper Biraj Moharjan in the danger zone.
Bimol Gharti Magar restored the parity for the Himalayan country Nepal in the 82nd minute by a left footer from goal mouth melee, utilising a corner came his way from his team mate (1-1)
Hosts Bangladesh will start their dream campaign in the seven-national regional soccer meet taking on Bhutan Tuesday evening at 7 pm local time at the same venue in in a hope to take revenge of their frustrating 1-3 goals defeat against them in 2016.
Hosts Bangladesh was placed in Group A of the biggest soccer festival of the region (SAFF Championship) with Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan while holders India, the Maldives and Sri Lanka were placed in Group B of the seven-nation meet.
However, Pakistan enjoyed the first chance in the 23rd minute when Mohsin Ali looped a cross at the top of the eight yard box but forward Muhammad Ali’s drive deflected off a Nepali defender.
Pakistan’s joy knew no bounds in the 36th minute when Nepalese skipper Biraj Maharjan’s push brought forward Muhammad Riyaz down in the middle of the box prompting Jordanian referee Hasan Mahmoud Arafah to the spot. Pakistani forward Hassan Naweed Bashir sent Nepal custodian Kiron Kumar in the wrong way as Pakistan took the unexpected lead (1-0)
Nepal piled up considerable pressure for the equalizer earning three corners in the following minutes and among them Suman Aryal’s close range header was saved with the last ditch effort of goalie Yusuf Butt.
The pursuit continued after the change of ends but the score line remained same till the hour mark. Nepal forwards roamed the Pakistani zone freely but could not find the space to finish.
Nepal was fortunate in the 75th minute when substitute forward Saadullah capitalizing the free space due to the attacking approach of Nepal hit the crosspiece from 35 yards out.
But Bimal Gharti Magar, finally succeeded to break the Pakistani resistance in the 82nd minute when Sujal Shreshta curved a corner that was headed by Niranjan Khadka in the path of Bimal whose quick left footed placing landed into the left hand post of Yusuf Izaj Butt (1-1), Nepal wildly celebrated the strike.
However Yusuf Butt pulled out two spectacular saves in the 90th minute punching and fisting two fierce drives of Bishakl Rai and Sujal Shreshta saving Pakistan from conceding.
With the match going towards a draw Muhammad Ali headed a home the winner in the last minute of the five minute added time of the match.
Washington, Sep 3 (AP/UNB) — Wayne Rooney broke a tie on a penalty kick in the 52nd minute and set up Luciano Acosta's two goals in D.C. United's 3-1 victory over Atlanta United on Sunday night.
Acosta opened the scoring in the 29th by running past the defense for a glancing header of a goal kick, cut back two defenders and sent in a shot from near the penalty spot. He added his second in the 77th on a one-on-one breakaway.
Bill Hamid made six saves for D.C. (8-12-6), which ended a two-game scoreless losing streak. United is six points behind Montreal for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Jeff Larentowicz headed in a goal for Atlanta (16-5-6) in the 39th to tie it at 1. Atlanta had a seven game unbeaten streak snapped and sit a point behind the Supporters' Shield leader New York.
Atlanta star Josef Martinez failed to add to his MLS season record of 28 goals. With a goal, he would have set a MLS record with his 10th straight scoring game.
Barcelona, Sep 3 (AP/UNB) — Newly promoted Huesca enjoyed short-lived celebrations on Sunday after stunning Barcelona with a goal just three minutes into their Spanish league game.
But Lionel Messi provided a harsh reality check with two goals as the defending champions went on to demolish Huesca 8-2 at Camp Nou.
Messi canceled out Juan "Cucho" Hernandez's opener — after a long buildup by Huesca — with an exquisite solo effort.
Facing four defenders honed in on him at the edge of the area, the Argentine lured them toward the center of the field before a sudden change of foot and acceleration left one man on the turf and the rest out of position. Messi then fired a right-footed shot in off the far post for the 16th-minute equalizer.
Jordi Alba provoked an own-goal from Jorge Pulido and set up Luis Suarez to make it 3-1 with the first of two goals for the Uruguay striker.
Another slip in concentration let Alex Gallar score again for Huesca to make it 3-2 to Barcelona at halftime.
In a lopsided second half, Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele and Ivan Rakitic scored before Messi got his second goal and then assisted Alba.
Suarez rounded off the easy win by earning and taking a penalty in stoppage time.
"It burns to concede a goal on the first attack since it makes you think that you started the match far too relaxed," Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. "Huesca gave it its all, but we found our short-passing game and ended up doing a lot of damage."
Messi's brace left him level with Karim Benzema as the league's top scorers this season with four goals each.
Barcelona and Real Madrid are the only two teams to have won their three opening league games.
Veteran forward Joaquin Sanchez went on as a late substitute and headed Real Betis to its first home win over crosstown rival Sevilla since 2006.
The 37-year-old Sanchez scored in the 80th minute to secure the 1-0 victory at Benito Villamarin Stadium.
Sanchez had missed the first two games of the season due to injury after having an excellent campaign in 2017-18.
"This is a dream debut for the season," Sanchez said.
It was Betis' first goal of the campaign.
Valencia started this season with the two objectives of doing well on its long-awaited return to the Champions League and maintaining a top-four finish in Spain.
But three matches into the season and Marcelino Garcia's team has yet to win.
Valencia twice had to come from behind to salvage a 2-2 draw at 10-man Levante, its crosstown rival, on Sunday.
Roger Marti scored both goals for Levante, with Denis Cheryshev making it 1-1 before Dani Parejo split the points by converting a penalty early in the second half.
Levante's Coke Andujar picked up a second booking in the 76th.
"We have conceded five goals in three games," Marcelino said. "I don't like my team when it doesn't have the ball."
VAR GIVETH, VAR TAKETH
The video assistant referee awarded a penalty in favor of Espanyol and annulled a goal by the Barcelona-based side in a 2-1 loss at Alaves.
Leo Baptistao converted the penalty, only for Alaves to fight back with goals by Borja Baston and Ruben Sobrino.
London, Sep 3 (AP/UNB) — After the furore that followed straight Premier League defeats for Manchester United, Jose Mourinho's team produced a routine 2-0 victory over Burnley on Sunday.
Romelu Lukaku's first-half double put United in control before the second half briefly took a dramatic turn when Burnley goalkeeper Joe Hart saved Paul Pogba's penalty kick and substitute Marcus Rashford was sent off for violent conduct only 11 minutes after coming on.
"Even with 10 men for 15 minutes the team was the team that had the chances to score," Mourinho said. "We are all very happy that the boys can go for their international week with the feeling (of winning)."
Tottenham, which set alarm bells ringing at Old Trafford by winning 3-0 there six days ago, was unable to carry that momentum to Watford, which came from behind to secure a 2-1 victory at Vicarage Road.
Watford has won all four of its Premier League games and joins Liverpool and Chelsea with a maximum total of 12 points at the top of the table.
Arsenal, meanwhile, joined United on six points as it secured a first away victory under Unai Emery with an entertaining 3-2 win at newly promoted Cardiff.
After storming out of his news conference following United's defeat to Tottenham, demanding "respect, respect" from the media, Mourinho was much calmer ahead of his side's trip to Burnley, and the approach may have brought rewards on the field.
Mourinho will have been especially pleased by United's improved defensive performance as it claimed a first clean sheet of the league season.
Both the Portuguese and his squad will enter the international break with confidence that United's worst Premier League start for 26 years is firmly behind them.
The only dramas for United this time concerned Pogba's penalty miss and Rashford's red card, but Mourinho wasn't critical of either.
After Rashford was fouled in the box, Pogba — who has already scored two penalties this season — had his spot kick saved by Hart.
"I never blame a player for missing penalties," Mourinho told BBC Sport. "I blame the ones who refuse to go up there. Paul's scored some good ones for us."
The frustration of the penalty miss appeared to affect Rashford more than Pogba and within a minute of the miss the England striker had been sent off.
Burnley defender Phil Bardsley tackled Rashford before kicking him in the aftermath of the challenge. Rashford attempted to take matters into his own hands, pushing his forehead into Bardsley's face, and was sent off.
"I would say it was naive," Mourinho said. "It was a kid and a very experienced man. Bardsley's been in the game for 20 years and Marcus is a naive boy."
With Tottenham having taken the headlines last round with a statement victory over Manchester United, some seemed to forget that both teams held perfect records as Spurs made the short trip to face Watford on Sunday.
By the end, there was only one perfect record to talk about — Watford's.
The win for Javi Gracia's team was made all the more impressive by the fact Spurs took the lead shortly after halftime, as Abdoulaye Doucoure found his own net as he attempted to clear Lucas Moura's cross.
The usually reliable Spurs defense would have been confident of seeing out victory from there, but was undone in the simplest fashion.
Troy Deeney and Craig Cathcart both headed in set pieces in the space of seven minutes to turn the match around and keep Watford level with Liverpool and Chelsea at the top of the table.
GUNNERS DUO STRIKE
It's still early days in Emery's reign as Arsenal manager, but Sunday's win at Cardiff may prove a pivotal moment for the Spaniard.
For the first time this season he opted to include both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette in his starting lineup and was rewarded with a first away victory in the Premier League.
While there are still major defensive concerns for Arsenal, the play of the strike duo suggests Emery has a combination that will cause problems for any defense.
Shkodran Mustafi gave Arsenal an early lead before Victor Camarasa leveled with Cardiff's first goal of the season in first-half stoppage time.
Aubameyang struck after the break as Lacazette flicked the ball into his path, allowing the Gabon forward to find the bottom corner from outside the box.
However, Arsenal was pegged back once more as Danny Ward headed the home side level with 20 minutes remaining.
Not to be denied, the inspired Lacazette hit an unstoppable effort in at the near post with nine minutes remaining to finally see off Cardiff, which is still looking for a first win of the season.