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Farhad not enough-Myanmar-2, BFF XI-1

Sunday October 30 2005 03:56:09 AM BDT

Ariful Kabir Farhad scored his third goal in the Grand Royal Challenge Cup football tournament in Myanmar but it was not enough for the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) XI to avoid defeat against the hosts on Saturday.

The Myanmar Under-23 team, who led the first half through an injury-time strike, defeated the BFF XI 2-1 in the second-round match in Yangon to book a berth in the November 2 final.

Bangladesh, who conceded the second goal on the hour, reduced the arrears through Farhad ten minutes from time.

Farhad scored twice on the opening day of the four-team meet in Bangladesh's 3-1 defeat of China, who stayed in contention for a place in the final defeating India 3-1 in the day's other match.

However, the Chinese youth must beat Myanmar in tomorrow's last group match to keep their hopes alive.

Bangladesh face an under-strength India Under-20, who were brushed aside 11-0 by the hosts and have already bowed out of contention with two losses. A win will all but ensure their path to the final.

Bangladesh also lost to Myanmar in the group stage but defeated the hosts in the final to lift the trophy in their last trip in 1995 under German coach Otto Pfister.

Despite the loss, the Bangladesh team management was confident of playing in the final as they thought India would not be a big trouble.

According to a message from the Myanmar capital, the BFF XI -- a virtual national team -- were not impressive in the first half but came alive after the break against a strong side which boasted a number of national players and have been training for two years.

Team manager Sayeed Hassan Kanan informed over phone that Bangladesh played good football under Argentine coach Diego Cruciani and showed signs of getting habituated to Latin style.

"We are confident of reaching the final beating India in the last match," Kanan said.

After the match, coach Cruciani commented that to play at top level, the Bangladeshi booters needed to improve their fitness level more.

Although Cruciani had said before departure that he would use as many players as possible, he retained the same starting line-up.

BFF XI LINE-UP (4-3-1-2): Aminul, Hassan Al Mamun, Sujan, Nazrul, Titu, Arman, Joy, Matiur Munna (Asad), Ujjal (Kanchan), Alfaz (Emily) and Farhad.



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