Bangladesh got the start they hoped for in the 5-nation SAFF Championship with a comfortable win against Sri Lanka in Male on Friday, although new head coach Oscar Bruzon will be concerned at the failure to convert their much greater possession and chances in open play into goals.
Ultimately they had to rely on a second half penalty for a 1-0 victory, after Lankan defender Duckson Puslas handled inside the box. It was Duckson's second yellow card offense, meaning the Lankans were also down to 10 men.
Defender Topu Barman stepped up to coolly convert from the spot in the 55th minute. Sri Lanka never really looked like troubling the Bangladeshi goalkeeper, and Bruzon's men had the 3 points they craved to start the tournament.
The Spaniard, who came to the job with extensive knowledge of Bangladeshi football after three successful years managing BPL champions Bashundhara Kings, made good on his promise of a more modern and attractive style of play in his team's very first outing under him.
Bangladesh bossed possession (58% to 42%) throughout the match and created waves of chances, with 20 shots on goal against 9 for Sri Lanka, none of which were on target. Bangladesh had 4 shots on target.
The failure to convert more of those chances into direct threats for the Lankan goalkeeper will be an area Bruzon will surely work to improve. Although dominant in midfield, some of the play in the final third left a lot to be desired.