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Bangladesh secure Afghanistan draw
Afghanistan throw away a two-goal lead at the South Asian Football Championship.
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2008 19:05 GMT

Jahid Ameli, right, scored Bangladesh's first goal in their comeback against Afghanistan [Al Jazeera] 

Afghanistan once again threw away a 2-1 lead and drew 2-2 in Group B of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship, this time against Bangladesh at the Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo.
The Afghans had also led 2-1 in their first match of the tournament against co-hosts Sri Lanka on Wednesday, with their second draw giving them two points from two games in a tight group.
 
Bangladesh are also on two points having drawn their opening match 1-1 against Bhutan.
"I think we played 30 minutes perfect, but then we gave the game out of our hands," Klaus Stark, Afghanistan coach, told a press conference.

"Some players after the hard match against Sri Lanka were really tired.

"We can live with the draw. It was an interesting game, and both teams deserved a point."

"It was an interesting game, and both teams deserved a point."

Klaus Stark,
Afghanistan coach
Bangladesh were two goals down after 22 minutes through an Ata Yamrali double, and an early exit from the tournament looked on the cards.

However a second half fight back with a penalty from Jahid Ameli and a 76th minute equaliser from Mamun gave Mohamed Abu Yousef's team a well earned reprieve.

"The match was very exciting today. There were some silly mistakes," Shahik Aslam, Bangladesh team manager, said.

"Our team is very new and very inexperienced, but even so we got the 2-2 draw in the second half.

"The tournament is not over."

Giving blood

Afghanistan, who have secured victory in just one of their eight SAFF matches played over three tournaments, looked certain to double their win tally, but a combination of fatigue and inexperience cost them two further points.

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The Afghans will play Bhutan in their final match of the group stage.

"It will not be easy for us to win, but we have everything in our hands," Stark said of Sunday's match against his 199th-ranked opponents.

"If we win we will be in the semi-finals.

"We will run until our last drop of blood to win that game."

Later on Friday Sri Lanka defeated Bhutan 2-0 to go top of Group B on four points, with Bhutan bottom on one point.

First half goals to Chathura Gunarathna and captain Chathura Maduranga gave the hosts a comfortable buffer, but they squandered several chances in the second half as Bhutan got off lightly.

On Thursday, co-hosts Maldives and four-time SAFF champions India claimed the two semi-final spots from Group A at the expense of Pakistan and Nepal in Male.

India defeated arch-rivals Pakistan 2-1 to move to six points from two matches, while Maldives beat Nepal 4-1 and are also on six points.

Maldives and India will play for top spot in the group on Saturday, while Pakistan and Nepal will be playing for pride.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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